VT Halter Marine, a company of ST Engineering North America (STENA), has laid the keels of two Auxiliary Personnel Lighter-Small (APL(S)) berthing barges it is building for the US Navy.
The US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded VT Halter Marine a US$77.9 million contract to design and build two firm units of the new class of berthing barges in September 2018, with options for another four. The first of these four options was exercised in February 2019, bringing the total value of this contract awarded to VT Halter Marine to US$118 million.
The company expects the first two vessels to be delivered in the third quarter of 2020, and the third unit to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2020.
When completed, the berthing barges will be used to house crewmembers when ships are in port for maintenance and Inter-Deployment Training Cycles. They are mobile and can be towed to new bases or shipyards to support changing fleet requirements and also offer potential use for humanitarian missions and other temporary assignments.
The new vessels will be 82 meters long and 20.95 meters wide.
Additionally, the vessels will be capable of seating 228 enlisted personnel and 56 officers for each meal. Each vessel is equipped with offices, classrooms, washrooms, laundry facilities, medical treatment areas, a barber shop, and a fitness center.
The vessels are being fitted with mixed gender berthing spaces for 74 officers and 537 enlisted personnel, for a total of 611 people.
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