Bethlehem Steel's Huge Drydock At New Sabine Yard In Texas To Be Operational In Spring '85

Bethlehem Steel Corporation's new Sabine Yard on Pleasure Island, Port Arthur, Texas, will be operational in spring 1985 following the installation of one of the largest floating drydocks in the country.

The announcement by David H. Klinges, vice president of Bethlehem's marine construction group, came after the signing of all lease and operational documents with the City of Port Arthur, owner of the Pleasure Island property, and the Port of Port Arthur, owner of the drydock. The new Bethlehem facility on the Sabine- Neches Ship Channel will be devoted primarily to the repair and inspection of off-shore oil drilling and production facilities.

The location of the new yard will give rig operators ready access to and from the Gulf of Mexico. The channel width and depth at Bethlehem's 100-acre Pleasure Island location is 1,200 feet and 40 feet, respectively.

The U.S. Navy surplus drydock (AFDB-5) is currently berthed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and will arrive at the Sabine Yard in late December 1984.

The seven-section open-ended unit has selfdocking capabilities and a lifting capacity of 56,000 tons.

In addition to electrical generating equipment, utility capacity and cranes, it is equipped with machine, carpenter and electrical shops. The seven buoyancy chambers contain galley and mess facilities, bunk rooms and bath facili- ties and the wing walls house over 25,000 square feet of potential office and shop space. The sectional steel dock can be configured to provide a clear docking area of either 362 feet by 310 feet or 825 feet by 122 feet, depending on the size and shape of the incoming vessel. This unique flexibility will accommodate semi-submersible, mat-supported and independent leg jackup rigs.

The new Sabine Yard will be located downriver from the Beaumont Yard which has been operated by Bethlehem since 1947.

Ownership of the drydock was transferred from the U.S. General Services Administration to the State of Texas to the Port of Port Arthur. The port will own the drydock, but will allow Bethlehem to use it through an operating agreement approved by the federal agency and the port authority.

Employment at the new yard will grow to approximately 750 persons in the initial development phase, with additional employment opportunities as phases two and three are implemented.

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