American shipbuilding, ship repair and industrial service provider Vigor Industrial has signed an agreement to take over the former home of Christensen Yachts in Vancouver, Washington, to establish an aluminium fabrication facility for the US Army’s new landing craft, Maneuver Support Vessel (Light).
The MSV(L) contract, worth nearly $1bn over 10 years, is the largest won by Vigor so far, and is expected to generate hundreds of jobs.
Vigor expects to employ nearly 400 workers at the site and will invest millions in capital upgrades and equipment.
Other programmes to be constructed at the site will include ongoing production of the Combatant Craft Medium (CCM) for the US Navy and for US allies; the Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) for the US Coast Guard and export market; Vigor’ Fast Interceptor; aluminium fast ferries; and commercial workboats.
Currently, Vigor’s aluminium marine work is mostly carried out in Seattle (Ballard), Washington, and Clackamas, Oregon.
Aluminium marine work in these locations will be phased out with the work moving to the Vancouver site over the coming year.
Vigor considered building and buying options in Oregon and Washington State for the facility.
The company has selected Vancouver site due to several factors, including the opportunity to bring its entire aluminium fabrication team together in one location, and the liveability of the community, its proximity to existing Vigor facilities, and the suitability of the Christensen facility for Vigor’s production needs.
Production at the facility is expected to commence in May with existing work followed by the beginning of construction of the MSV(L) prototype in the summer.
After the completion of the MSV(L) prototype and its testing and refinements, four vessels in the Low Rate Production phase, followed by 32 vessels once Full Rate Production will begin.
The availability of high-quality skills training and job training partnerships in Vancouver and Portland are expected to play an important role in attracting the talent needed.
Vigor intends to combine its existing Ballard-based and Clackamas-based marine workforces while working with local skills-based programmes, its labour partners, and the community to hire and train the skilled workers.
Image: A Vigor-BMT MSVL. Photo: Courtesy of Vigor Industrial LLC.