$28-Million Contract Awarded To Equitable

Secretary of Commerce Juanita M. Kreps has announced the award of a $28,542,000 contract to Equitable Shipyards, Inc., New Orleans, La., to construct three breakbulk cargo ships for American Atlantic Shipping, Inc. of New York, N.Y.

The Maritime Administration (MarAd), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, will pay $4,617,000 or 48.52 percent of the $9,514,000 cost of each vessel under the federally assisted ship-construction program. In addition, the agency will pay $64,835 per ship for national defense features to be installed in the vessels. Each vessel will be 288 feet long, 45 feet wide, and 22 feet deep; rated at 2,220 deadweight tons (dwt) and 2,800 horsepower; and have a speed of 14 knots. The ships are the first exclusively breakbulk vessels authorized for construction under the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. Under the Act to date, contracts have been let for 69 vessels totaling in excess of six million dwt and valued at more than $3.5 billion.

Robert J. Blackwell, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Maritime Affairs and MarAd Administrator, noted that the contract will provide approximately 1,050 man-years of employment for the Equitable "work force and employees in the allied marine supply industry. "These vessels are ideally suited for the Caribbean Sea trade for which they are being built," he said. "Their construction affirms our belief that breakbulk shipping is still vital to the specialized cargo trade and adds to our national defense sealift capability as well." American Atlantic Shipping will place the ships in service between Miami, Fla., and various ports throughout the Caribbean. For that service, each vessel will carry a crew of 10.

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