March 13, 2023 by Nichols Boats

NBBB Supports ESR on WSF's M/V Cathlamet Repairs

Two Washington state shipyards with professional working relationships with Washington State Ferries (WSF), Everett Ship Repair, LLC (ESR) and Ice Floe, LLC dba Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) offered immediate assistance to WSF when the M/V Cathlamet allided into the Fauntleroy dock on July 28, 2022. On Thursday, March 2, 2023, the M/V Cathlamet was towed back to Eagle Harbor to reunite with the WSF Fleet, after completion of major repairs caused by the collision.

Everett Ship Repair, of Everett WA, has experience with WSF as a local drydocking contractor since 2020. ESR is capable of docking all vessels within WSF’s fleet using ESR’s Faithful Servant drydock which accommodates vessels up to 436’ x 110’ with a lifting capacity of 8000+ST. ESR served as the Prime Contractor for the M/V Cathlamet emergency repairs. ESR subcontracted Nichols Brothers Boat Builders for the pickle fork steel construction, which was fabricated on Whidbey Island at NBBB’s facility. NBBB also has significate experience with WSF, NBBB built six (6) new-construction superstructures for vessels of the Kwa-di-Tabil class and the Olympic-class ferries. The sister-company project team was ideal for the response to the emergency repair of the M/V Cathlamet.

“ESR and NBBB value WSF as a customer, and immediately wanted to help when news broke of the M/V Cathlamet allision” Gavin Higgins, CEO of both ESR and NBBB commented, “Our crews are very familiar with WSF vessels, not only do we repair and build the vessels, we are also routine passengers on the Mukilteo/Clinton route. The WSF system is very important to each and every one of us and our businesses.”

The M/V Cathlamet arrived at ESR on August 29, 2022. Coordination between WSF and ESR began, and a project scope of work process was identified. First the vessel would be inspected, engineering and design would follow for the affected areas and new-fabricated modules. Upon design completion, erection of the pickle fork module would take place at NBBB. Once the pickle fork module is complete it is loaded onto a barge and transferred to ESR. ESR would install the pickle fork and apply paint and coatings to the vessel in accordance with WSF’s paint specifications.

ESR executed the project process plan as the prime contractor. The vessel was drydocked, an inspection was completed as well as under-waterline work.

The vessel was then positioned dockside and work began removing the damaged steel and preparing the vessel for the new steel structure.

Meanwhile NBBB began construction on the pickle fork module. Once the module was complete, it was then barged from NBBB’s facility in Freeland to ESR’s facility at the Port of Everett.

The new pickle fork was then installed at ESR, and a new paint system was applied to the new steel. The Lastly, the vessels systems were tested and the vessel was re-delivered to WSF.      

"As an Emergency Repair job- the M/V Cathlamet project was a unique opportunity for NBBB and ESR to create and execute an agile repair plan that utilized the companies’ capabilities in both new construction and repair.” Project Manager of ESR Kristin Burkhart, said. “ESR and NBBB teams coordinated and worked to complete this repair scope using rolling wave planning to integrate conditions found into production execution and sequencing in the goal of delivering the M/V Cathlamet back into service with quality repair work performed efficiently. "

Washington State has a vast maritime industry; amongst us are Operators like WSF, Shipyards like ESR and NBBB, and Suppliers like the steel manufacture Seaport Steel, and paint suppliers like Sherwin Williams. We work together and support one another in time of need.  The M/V Cathlamet has been repaired and redelivered to WSF, it is home at Eagle Harbor and will soon go back into service. A job well done within the maritime community of the Pacific Northwest.