Construction Starts on the First Us-Built Laker for 35 Years

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and The Interlake Steamship Company hosted a ceremonial first-cut-of-steel event this week, celebrating the historic start of construction on the first US-flagged Great Lakes bulk carrier built in more than 35 years.

The new River-Class, self-unloading bulk carrier is believed to be the first ship for US Great Lakes service built on the Great Lakes since 1983. Measuring 639 feet in length and 78feet beam the 28,000dwt ship will transport raw materials to support manufacturing throughout the Great Lakes region. The Interlake Steamship Company, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Bay Engineering are jointly designing the bulk carrier, complete with advanced vessel and unloading systems automation.

Scheduled for completion in mid-2022, the carrier will be built by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s nearly 700 skilled trade workers and will generate business for partnering contractors, vendors and suppliers. Major partners for the project include: American Bureau of Shipping (ABS); Bay Engineering (BEI); EMD Engines; Caterpillar; EMS-Tech, Inc.; Lufkin (a GE Company) and MacGregor.

After careful preparation by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s blast and prime team, its fabrication team prepped and then cut the steel with automated precision within the shipyard’s largest fabrication building in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

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