Pascagoula, MS

Bollinger to acquire VT Halter Marine

Doug Stewart

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VT Halter Marine photo.

Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, La., announced yesterday that it will acquire VT Halter Marine Inc. and ST Engineering Halter Marine Offshore (STEHMO). Bollinger is buying the assets from ST Engineering North America, a technology, defense, and engineering group.

No sale amount has been announced. Bollinger Shipyards was acquired by Edison Chouest Offshore and Bollinger's president and CEO Ben Bordelon in December 2014.

The transaction expands Bollinger’s new construction and repair capacity and capabilities to better serve its key defense and commercial customers.

“For over 75 years, my family has been dedicated to providing our government and commercial customers with the highest levels of quality, support, and service in the U.S. shipbuilding industry,”

Bordelon said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “The addition of VT Halter Marine and STEHMO in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is strategic as it further strengthens our position in the industry and U.S. defense industrial base by allowing Bollinger to expand our footprint, capabilities, and suite of innovative solutions that we can provide to our customers. From Day One, the Bollinger team will leverage our proven and best-in-class management team, operational excellence, and existing capability to ongoing commercial and government programs, especially the Polar Security Cutter program.”

This acquisition creates expanded opportunities for Bollinger to better serve and deepen its relationships with its key defense and commercial customers with an increased capacity and footprint, improved efficiencies, enhanced economies of scale, and access to a large skilled workforce, including increased engineering capacity, Bollinger officials said. It also brings expanded capabilities for future programs, including an ACAT I program.

Bollinger’s acquisition increases the shipyard’s growing new construction and repair portfolio. All ongoing programs are to be conveyed with the transaction. Notably, the Polar Security Cutter (PSC) program for the U.S. Coast Guard and the Auxiliary Personnel Lighter-Small (APL(S)) program for the U.S. Navy. Given the proximity to Bollinger’s existing facilities, Bollinger will be able to support further efficiencies and resolution of any potential capacity constraints. (Lockport, La., is approximately 150 miles from Pascagoula, Miss.)

In addition to the construction of the U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter (FRC) program, Bollinger builds the Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vessel (MCM USV) and the Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) programs for the U.S. Navy, as well as the Regional Class Research Vessel for the National Science Foundation and Oregon State University.

Bollinger also has two active contracts with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build a 618'x140' floating drydock and a 496'x95' pontoon launcher, both of which will support the construction and launching of the U.S. Navy’s Columbia Class ballistic missile submarines. In addition, Bollinger is participating in industry studies for two government programs, including the U.S. Navy’s Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle (LUSV) program and the U.S. Navy’s Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) program.

“Bollinger takes great pride in being a major job creator in Louisiana. Today, we’re excited to grow and expand that legacy to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. We have always said that our greatest stren," said Bollinger. "By combining our skilled workforces, we’ll ensure coastal Mississippi remains synonymous with defense shipbuilding and remains a major part of our industrial base.”

The acquisition includes 378 acres comprising two shipyards in Pascagoula and two dormant yards north of Pascagoula. The newly acquired yards will be renamed Bollinger Mississippi Shipbuilding and Bollinger Mississippi Repair. The Pascagoula facilities are strategically located with direct, deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico and houses corporate office space, engineering, fabrication, warehousing, and a foreign trade zone.

The Halter shipyard consists of 225,000 sq. ft. of covered production area in the main fabrication assembly buildings. The facility is capable of producing Panamax-sized vessels up to 50,000 dwt. and features an expanded 740' tilt-beam launch system.

Bollinger is on a buying spree of sorts. In 2021, the company bought Gulf Island Fabrication Inc.’s shipyard facilities in Houma, La., expanding Bollinger’s new construction and repair capacity and capabilities. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Bollinger Houma facility encompasses 437 acres on the west bank of the Houma Navigation Canal, of which 283 acres is unimproved land that is available for expansion. The facility includes 18,000 sq. ft. of administrative and operations facilities, 160,000 sq. ft. of covered fabrication facilities, and 20,000 sq. ft. of warehouse facilities. It also has 6,750 linear feet of water frontage, including 2,350 feet of steel bulkheads. Located just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the location provides short and unrestricted access to the newly acquired Houma facility from open waters.

The acquisition also includes a 15,000-short-ton drydock, a 4,000-short-ton drydock, a 3,000-short-ton drydock, and a 1,500-short-ton drydock.

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Doug Stewart is a content creator for National Fisherman and WorkBoat magazine, with over 10+ years of commercial marine industry knowledge. He lives in Portland Maine.

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