Alaska Businesses Build Partnership First, Then New Marine Vessel
The Goldbelt Seawolf vessel
HOMER—Bay Welding, based in Homer, launched a new boat they just finished building, the Goldbelt Seawolf, commissioned for Goldbelt Transportation. To launch the vessel, Alaska Crane hoisted the Seawolf with their Liebherr LTM 1500 mobile hydraulic crane from the Northern Enterprises boat yard into Kachemak Bay. There was a launch celebration in Homer directly thereafter, to give the Seawolf a proper sendoff and acknowledge the hard work and successful Alaska business partnership built on this project.
The new, seventy-four-foot catamaran USCG inspected passenger vessel was engineered by Coast Wise Corporation of Anchorage, Alaska, built 100 percent by Bay Welding, and commissioned by Goldbelt Transportation out of Juneau to provide transportation to and from the Kensington Mine, as well as providing the company with the flexibility necessary to explore other business opportunities.
The project took eleven months and the Seawolf is the largest vessel ever built in Homer. In order to successfully launch the vessel, two cranes were needed due to the unique circumstances of the large vessel size and the existing launching infrastructure that is too small for the Seawolf. Alaska Crane and Bay Welding worked together over several days to prepare for the lift and launch of the boat. Now that the vessel has been launched, Captain Clint Songer of Goldbelt Transportation will work with Bay Welding and the United States Coast Guard in Homer to perform a series of checks and tests to ensure everything on the vessel is in working order and up to USCG standards. The Seawolf will need to be fully cleared by the USCG before she sets sail to Juneau to begin her career.
“The ship manufacturing industry is comprised of large corporation type of companies that tend to have higher overhead costs and longer lead times,” said Eric Engebretsen, Bay Welding General Manager. “Bay Welding has found a niche with their small-business-oriented, direct, timely, and on-budget methodology which prioritizes both in-house planning and design and hands-on interaction with clients. Our greatest niche is the design-build process that brings customers a product designed specifically for them, as well as being in Alaska for Alaska clients.”
The successful building and launch of the Goldbelt Seawolf required strong partnerships and close collaboration between each Alaskan company involved throughout the duration of the project. All are based in Alaska and employ a local workforce. Each business sources materials and services in-state wherever possible, doing their part to keep business in the state and continue to grow Alaska’s economy even in the face of current economic difficulties. Bay Welding has quickly emerged as a leader in the ship building industry throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their success directly contributes to the state economy through projects such as this one, which would typically be contracted to shipbuilders out of regional hubs such as Seattle.
“Goldbelt Transportation prioritizes Alaska’s continued economic growth and stability,” remarked McHugh Pierre, Interim President and CEO of parent company Goldbelt, Inc. “We place a high value on any ability we have to contribute to the local economy through the commissioning of in-state projects wherever possible. In the same vein, we value Alaskan employment–every employee of Goldbelt Transportation that works in Alaska, lives in Alaska, and we are very proud of their hard work and continued success. Our experience building this partnership with Bay Welding and Alaska Crane has been incredible every step of the way, and we feel very fortunate to have been able to meet our own business needs while also supporting fellow Alaska businesses.”
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Out of the Mine and into the Smelter
Mining has long been a key fixture of Alaska’s economy. On a small scale, people flock to the 49th state to tour different operations. Kennecott Mine was once a booming copper mining site and is now a National Historic Landmark, attracting tourists eager to visit the ghost town and get a feel of the Gold Rush era it once dominated.