Master Marine Responds To Change In The Shipbuilding Market With Vessel Conversions

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Master Marine, Inc. of Bayou La Batre, Ala., recently converted a 96- foot aluminum crewboat to a 149- passenger whale watch/excursion vessel for Barnstable Whale Watch Tours Inc., Barnstable, Mass.

The vessel, named Spirit, was converted in just under eight weeks. Work consisted of installation of three main engines and one generator, with special spiral design Cowl mufflers from Canada, chosen because of their compact size and ease of installation in the engine room. Conversion work entailed fabrication of a 35-foot extended deckhouse with two bathrooms in the stern, full service snack bar, cushioned benches and tables. Interior finishing incorporated the use of fiberglass reinforced plastic paneling on the walls, which is very durable and will not rot and fade like wood paneling. Four sliding doors make way for easy passenger access. Handrails with safety screens on the main deck and the topdeck make it safe for families to view the beauty of the ocean. A bow pulpit was constructed for sighting of marine life.

Additional work consisted of the hookup of all piping systems and electrical lighting throughout, installation of a public address system, and sandblasting and the painting of the vessel.

Master Marine recently extended the University of Texas's research vessel Longhorn with a 20-foot midbody section. This addition provided a new equipment room, increased the living accommodations, lengthened two laboratories and allowed the building of a spacious new pilothouse complete with crew quarters. Included in the work was the construction of two new bottom tanks for fresh water and the installation of a central A.C. unit servicing three separate levels simultaneously. With the move of the main deck crane to the fo'c'sle deck, a new working area along with space for two deck boats was accomplished. Finally, to insure safety and improve working conditions, the generators were mounted on isolators with exhaust and hydraulic equipment, all sound engineered.

Exhaust and engine noise was a major concern on the Longhorn. To solve this problem Maxim M31 exhaust silencers with MSA1 spark arresting mufflers from Riley Beaird were installed to the main engines and generators exhaust system. In the engine room, Soundown 2 LB lead and foam sound absorption was installed. Other items included aluminum framed windows from Wynne Enterprises, Red Fox MSD, and Village Marine fresh water maker. Air conditioning units are Lennox Evaporators with heat coils.

The University vessel can now provide extended trips for research teams numbering 14. With complete navigation facilities and experienced crew, the Longhorn is ready for oceanographic research.

The Comanche, a 16-year-old shrimp trawler was converted to a Hondurian lobster vessel. The work entailed installation of a plate freezer system in the fishhold, and new hydraulics. A pot hauler and capstan were added and the rigging was changed to accommodate lobster pots. There was miscellaneous steel renewal throughout and the pilothouse and galley were refurbished.

Other work recently completed were two Coast Guard contracts for drydock and repairs to the cutter White Holly and the Axe & Barge. With conversion of steel and aluminum vessels, drydocking and repairs, and new construction, Master Marine proves once again that it can respond to the changing markets in the shipbuilding industry.

For free brochures detailing the conversion services offered by Master Marine,

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