Gulfport company lands major shipbuilding contract

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - For the next four years, workers from United States Marine Inc. will be building boats for the country of Kuwait

"This contract will allow us to keep going, to move forward.  We're looking for long-term stability here in South Mississippi," CEO Barry Dreyfus, Jr. said.

The $61.5 million contract is for ten, 90 foot vessels called Mark 5 boats. The company which employs 225 workers will have a few extra hands on deck with this project.

"This program is actually going to benefit three companies - Trinity Yachts, United States Marine and V.T. Halter," Dreyfus said.

U.S. Marine is still working out how the companies will divide up the work. CEO Barry Dreyfus, Jr. said the contract will also help other South Mississippi businesses as building gets underway.

"Aluminum suppliers, piping, screws. Just to run a business, you need everything from a rag for a guy to wipe his hands, to the aluminum to build the boat.  We try to get everything here in South Mississippi," Dreyfus said.

When they hit the water, the boats the company designed will reach speeds of 60 miles per hour.  Dreyfus said boats that size usually travel only 35 miles per hour.  They'll also be ballistic protected, or bullet proof, and have two large automatic guns on the front and back of the boats.

"Number one, they're going to be used for the pirates that are around that area right now.  Number two, smugglers. There's a big problem with drug smuggling over there," Dreyfus said.

The goal is to build no less than four boats a year until 2013.

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