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The Navy’s newest berthing barge, Auxiliary Personnel Lighter (APL) 67.
The Navy’s newest berthing barge, Auxiliary Personnel Lighter (APL) 67. (VT Halter Marine)

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Tribune News Service) — Halter Marine has been awarded $41 million contact to construct an Auxiliary Personnel Lighter-Small berthing and messing barge for the U.S. Navy, the fifth such ship in the class.

The contract is for a firm, fixed-price option for the detail design and construction, with construction expected to begin next month.

“We appreciate the Navy’s continued confidence in Halter Marine by awarding us with this fifth APL berthing barge,” said Halter president/CEO Bob Merchent. “We have a strong history of designing and building multiple-vessel contracts for the Navy. We look forward to delivering the first three APLs over the course of this summer.”

In September 2018, Halter Marine received the initial contract to design and build two units, with options for four additional units. Construction on the fourth vessel is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021.

Construction of all APL craft is firm, fixed-price. Should the Navy exercise all options with associated supplies and services, the total contract award would be in excess of $244 million.

APLs are used by the Navy to house crewmembers when ships are in port for availabilities and Inter-Deployment Training Cycles. The barges 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 vessels are 82 meters long by 20.95 meters wide by 2.2 meters draft. Each vessel is equipped with offices, classrooms, washrooms, laundry facilities, medical treatment areas, a barber shop and fitness center. With mess seating for 224 enlisted personnel and 28 officers, each meal is served via five 20-minute shifts to allow food service for 1,130 personnel (three meals per day). The vessels are fitted with mixed gender berthing spaces for 74 officers and 537 enlisted personnel, for a total of 611.

“Designing and building five APLs here in Jackson County, Mississippi, is good for our local community and economy,” said Kevin Amis, Executive Vice President of Operations. “Halter Marine continues to hire skilled local craftsmen and women, and we are training 55 others through our apprentice program. This APL program benefits both the livelihood of the local craftsmen and women as well as our national security.”

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