Drydock Vigilant Expected at Vigor Seattle
The 14,000-long ton capacity drydock Vigilant that will support hundreds of family-wage industrial jobs at Vigor Industrial’s shipyard on Harbor Island is scheduled to arrive in Elliott Bay late Saturday or early Sunday.
The 528-foot long drydock, which is being towed from Portland by tugs from Seattle’s Harley Marine Services, will enable Vigor to continue to compete with California and U.S. Gulf Coast shipyards for ship repair, maintenance and construction contracts. The Vigilant replaces a sister drydock that was decommissioned in February.
“This is a needed and valuable asset for our Seattle yard, our workers and the local maritime economy,” said Adam Beck, Vigor’s executive vice president of ship repair. “We were temporarily down to one drydock and getting back to two will enable us to continue to perform construction, repair and maintenance work of a scope that few other shipyards anywhere can match.”
For example, when it had two large-scale drydocks in use last year, Vigor had the capacity in Seattle not only to continue building ferries for Washington State Ferries and working on other vessels, but also to successfully compete with other shipyards across the country to build a new fireboat for the San Francisco Fire Department.
The number of jobs the drydock will support varies depending on contracts and the type of work being performed, with larger scale projects employing upwards of 200 workers. Welders and other professional craft workers at the shipyard typically can earn an average of $70,000 a year. The work at Vigor also supports jobs at subcontractors throughout the region.
Vigor began planning the move of the Vigilant to Seattle after the 80,000-long ton capacity Vigorous, the largest floating drydock in the country, was purchased and arrived at the company’s industrial center in Portland late last year.
The company performed some upgrades on the Vigilant to withstand the more challenging saltwater environment after spending its first 70 years in the fresh water of the Willamette River, and also to make it more nimble for disconnect and reconnect functions utilized in vessel fabrication. The upgrades are expected to give the drydock an additional lifespan of at least 25 years.
The Vigilant left Portland Friday and headed down the Columbia River and up the Pacific Coast.
“Bringing this asset to Seattle is consistent with our approach of strategically building our capabilities, workforce development and geographic mass from Oregon and Washington to Alaska,” Beck said. “Our greatest asset is our workers, but infrastructure such as this drydock is also critically important for efficiently serving our customers.”
In addition to Seattle and Portland, Vigor also has facilities in Tacoma, Everett, Port Angeles and Vancouver, WA; Clackamas, OR; and Ketchikan and Seward, AK. Vigor employs more than 2,500 workers, including over 650 at its Washington facilities.