It's been a whirlwind few weeks for the Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City after acquiring a $10 billion contract with the U.S. Coast Guard. Friday, the company celebrated the ship launch of the largest boat they have ever built.
It took over two years and hundreds of thousands of man hours to build the boat.
"It's a milestone for Eastern, GLBD, everybody," said Chris Hill, the Project Manager.
Hundreds of people watched as the 433 ft. long and 92 ft. wide boat was released. Eastern built this ship for Great Lakes Dock and Dredge. It will be used for dredging and something we're familiar with in this area, beach re-nourishment. Not only is this the largest ship Eastern has launched to date, it's also the largest dredge barge ever built in the U.S.
"It's great to see it in the water. Great to see it that one step further and closer to actually getting it sold and getting the company that needs it able to start working with it," said Kevin Nunnally, with Eastern Shipbuilding Quality Assurance.
The ship may now be in the water, but there's still a lot of work to be done.
"Finish it! Finish it, get it operational, and get it off to the customer," said Hill.
Most of the work left is inside of the vessel. Hill says it should be operational and ready for delivery to Great Lakes Dock and Dredge by mid 2017.
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