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Vol. 18, No. 13 Week of March 31, 2013
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Arctic Directory: Alaska Ship & Drydock gets the job done, Alaska style

Top-notch project managers and craftspeople delivering Alaska-tough results

Q. What is the official name of your company?

A. Alaska Ship & Drydock.

Q. Is your firm a subsidiary or affiliate of other companies?

A. Alaska Ship & Drydock is a subsidiary of Vigor Industrial

Q. What do you most want people to know about your company?

A. ASD’s modern facility, skilled workforce and strategic location make it an ideal support facility Alaska’s oil and gas market. ASD is expanding its portfolio beyond ship repair and shipbuilding and is leading the transformation of Ketchikan to become Alaska’s premier marine transportation and industrial hub.

ASD operates the Ketchikan Shipyard in cooperation with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and the municipalities of Ketchikan in an effective public private partnership. Initiated as an economic development project to strengthen and diversify the state’s economy, the Ketchikan Shipyard opened in 1987. Following the collapse of the Southeast Alaska timber industry in the 1990s, AIDEA developed a long term operating agreement with ASD and Ketchikan’s municipalities to create new employment in advanced manufacturing and attract new investment to the state. By the end of 2012, this partnership has secured over $95 million for construction of a state-of-the-art shipyard designed on competitive best practices and also developed a highly competent, productive, and multi-skilled workforce also using global best practices. In March of 2012, ASD was purchased by Vigor Industrial signaling the beginning of new private investment in the state of Alaska as a result of the public private partnership operating the shipyard. AIDEA retained ownership of the Ketchikan Shipyard and ASD is the seventh shipbuilding and repair firm operating under the Vigor Industrial flag.

Q. Where is your company located?

A. Ketchikan, Alaska

Q. What year was the company founded and by whom?

A. ASD was founded as an Alaska corporation in November of 1993 by Randy Johnson, a resident of Ketchikan.

Q. What is your company’s primary business activity?

A. Shipbuilding, ship repair and industrial fabrication supporting all sectors of Alaska’s marine industries.

Q. Are there important projects the company is currently a part of or has done recently?

A. ASD has a long history of success. In its early years ASD focused primarily on ship repair and maintenance of Alaska Marine Highway System as well as other local customers. ASD entered the shipbuilding market in 2000 when it won its first shipbuilding contract to construct a Passenger and Vehicle Roll On Roll Off ferry for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough connecting Ketchikan to its International Airport on the neighboring Gravina Island. Since then ASD has built a second ferry for the Borough.

Altogether ASD has constructed four vessels and in the midst of building it fifth, a new 136’ factory longliner for Alaska Longline Company. The most notable vessel built at ASD was the M/V Susitna that earned a 2010 WorkBoat Significant Boat award. As the world’s first twin hulled ice breaker, the Susitna is capable of operating in two modes, a high speed, deep draft mode and a shallow draft, landing craft mode giving the vessel capacity to travel to remote locations lacking port infrastructure and land and recover heavy equipment and supplies from unimproved beaches.

ASD also has a Professional Services Agreement with the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities for pre-construction design services for the new Alaska Class Ferry project. This is a Construction Manager and General Contractor form of procurement where ASD will advise the owner on constructability issues and provide cost estimated through the functional or contract design phase of the vessel. ASD will build the new ferries for the Department pending acceptance of the final guaranteed maximum price that will be provided by ASD at the end of the design process.

Q. How many employees does your company have?

A. 180

Q. Describe the equipment your company uses and are there any new equipment purchases planned?

A. ASD operates the Ketchikan Shipyard that is located on a 16.5 acre site north of downtown Ketchikan.

Major Equipment: 2 Drydocks; Drydock #1 Length: 460 ft Width: 110 ft Capacity: 10,000 LT; Drydock #2 Length: 225 ft Width: 85 ft Capacity: 2,500 LT; Piers: 1,000 ft with a depth of -35 feet below MLLW; 3 Cranes: Up to 150 tons Other: New 70,000 sq ft Ship Assembly Hall; Total of 130,000 sq ft of covered fab and shop area.

In the fall of 2012, AIDEA completed a brand new state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot Ship Assembly Hall with an adjacent five story Production Center at the yard. The assembly hall is served by two 75 ton gantry cranes capable of moving ships modules up to 150 tons. ASD is capable of building ships up to 500 feet in length.

Also in the fall of 2012, AIDEA began construction of a new $10 million Module Fabrication Shop. The new shop is being constructed adjacent to the assembly hall and will feed ship modules into the new Ship Assembly Hall. Processes in the main panel line will include plate welding, installation of transverse and longitudinal stiffeners, installation of equipment and machinery foundations, and module construction. Modules will be transported to the Assembly Hall on a wheeled transporter. 

ASD is a full service shipyard providing shipbuilding, ship repair and other industrial services.

Q. What is your company’s main strength or its edge over the competition?

A. In addition to ASD’s globally competitive shipbuilding and repair facilities and highly productive workforce, Ketchikan’s location is central to Alaska shipping routes giving the community the one of shortest, strongest, most dependable supply chains in Alaska. Ketchikan enjoys tug and barge service three days a week accompanied by multiple jet service daily between Seattle other Alaska cities.

Ketchikan also has significant port and harbor facilities that are underutilized during the winter months. Ward Cove is an ice free, protected deep water port and is being developed as the homeport for AMHS and commercial vessels operating in Alaska and Arctic waters. In all, Ketchikan can offer safe harbor and technical ship maintenance and construction services for all sectors of Alaska’s marine industries.

As an Alaska based contractor, ASD has developed a thorough understanding of the environmental, logistic, and business challenges that come with operating in a frontier economy. As a result, ASD has developed business methods that mitigate many of the complexities of operating in a challenging environment.

Q. What new markets, clients or projects did your company attract recently?

A. Last winter ASD entered the off shore oil and gas market by sending an away team to perform winter maintenance on the Spartan 151 Jack Up rig that wintered over in Port Graham on the Kenai Peninsula. ASD’s modern facility, skilled workforce and strategic location make it an ideal support facility Alaska’s oil and gas market.

ASD also recently entered the new construction market for Bering Sea fishing vessels and is currently building the Arctic Prowler for the Alaska Longline Company located in Petersburg, Alaska.

Q. What do you see as your company’s biggest challenge in the next five years?

A. The growth potential for the off shore oil and gas industry is enormous and ASD will need to carefully analyze future business opportunities to match Ketchikan’s capacities with the emerging marine industrial needs.

Q. Does your company have an anniversary or other landmark event coming up?

A. On March 26, Congressman Don Young will visit the Ketchikan Shipyard to dedicate the Ship Assembly and Production Hall.

Q. What steps does your company take to ensure a safe work environment?

A. Safety in an industrial workplace is a huge concern and consideration. ASD has a strong philosophy that any person who works here can stop work if they see an unsafe work condition. It isn’t just their right, it is there responsibility. ASD safety record reflects this motto by being below the OSHA reportable injury rate.

Q. Has your company been involved in any community projects or charity events?

A. In December, Vigor Industrial, ASD’s parent company, distributed $15,000 to several charities in Ketchikan. ASD and Vigor also support the Ketchikan Marine Industry Council ( an industry-led initiative supporting growth and expansion of Ketchikan’s diverse maritime economy.

Q. What is the address of your company’s website?


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