03/07/2019- A new era is on the horizon at the local shipyard, bringing with it some new technology. Later this year, Fincantieri Marinette Marine will begin constructing even larger vessels, first under a contract for multi-mission surface combatants for Saudi Arabia, and then potentially 20 new frigate ships for the US Navy. However, to accommodate this, FMM must perform some substantial upgrades, including to their launch system. A site plan for a new launch was presented to Marinette’s Plan Commission Wednesday. Dale Samples with FMM says the new launch will allow the shipyard to continue to side-launch LCS while more gently lowering larger vessels into the river.
The project also involves blasting and dredging the river and constructing a new bulkhead wall. The underwater blasting will occur twice daily and the sediment removed will then be transported to Marinette Fuel and Dock for dewatering. Samples says this work could cause some minor impacts to both marine and vehicular traffic.
Initial work on the new side launch is expected to get underway in June. FMM also plans to manufacture new buildings on site along with a new vertical lift system. The entire investment is estimated to be around $100-million.