Foss yard closure and its planned Damen order

'Nicole Foss' was Foss Rainier Shipyard's last delivery (Foss Maritime) 'Nicole Foss' was Foss Rainier Shipyard's last delivery (Foss Maritime)
Industry Database

With reports that Foss Maritime was closing its Rainier shipyard and concern surrounding the future of Damen’s plans to build a series of ASD tugs at the shipyard, the Netherlands-based shipbuilder has indicated to ‘MJ’ that cooperation with Foss is far from over.

During the summer, US-media reported on the decision by Foss Maritime to close its Rainier, Oregon shipyard resulting in the laying off of 10 workers the decision reportedly described by Foss spokesman Loren Skaggs as “a business decision based on multiple economic factors.” Since being acquired by Foss some 25 years ago and later converted to build new vessels, over 20 vessels have been built by Foss Rainier including the Dolphin-class harbour tugs and Arctic-class oceangoing tugs for Foss

Around a year ago is was announced that Damen had reached an agreement with Foss Rainier to build a series of up to ten 90tbp ASD Tug 2813s including modifications for the US market. At the time of the yard’s closure, reports painted a less than rosy future for Damen’s arrangement with Foss but with the passage of time there are indications that the two companies will continue to cooperate.

Talking exclusively to MJ, a Damen spokesperson said: “The decision to close the Rainier Shipyard was an internal Foss business decision based on multiple economic factors. Since the previously announced Memorandum of Understanding specifically called for the new boats to be built at Rainier, the current MOU is out of date and has therefore been cancelled. Foss and Damen are still in discussions about a number of potential projects. Foss is still committed to building new ASD 90 tugs for fleet replenishment.”

Damen will perhaps be keen to develop its presence in the US further given the scale of the market and the age profile of many of its harbour and seagoing tugs. Such tugs are still performing quite adequately and of course probably mostly mortgage-free but just as in Europe, the attractions of modern tug developments offering highly efficient vessel designs with, importantly for the US, less of an environmental impact will probably mean we haven’t heard the last of Damen’s association with Foss, a company with over 70 various vessels in its fleet and a global reach extending beyond North America.

By Peter Barker

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