GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Trinity Offshore in Gulfport launched a 300 foot barge on Friday morning. The double hull vessel weighs a thousand tons and took 30,000 hours to manufacture.
It's a massive fuel barge that represents both accomplishment and future job opportunity.
With the launch just moments away, John Dane looked on like a proud father. He's the CEO of TY Offshore, which is committed to building many more of these fuel barges.
"It's the eleventh out of 26 that are on order. And the company has another nine optioned. So, it could grow to a 35 barge order," he explained.
Launching such a massive steel structure involves simple physics. Nudge the giant barge past the tipping point and gravity takes over, sliding the vessel down greased beams and into the water.
It's always an impressive sight and one the boss never grows tired of watching.
"That's one of the best times in boat building is to see something launched that you've created that came in as flat plates of steel and it leaves as a vessel," said Dane.
More than 30,000 man hours went into building the double hull fuel barge for a company called Florida Marine Transporters. And with a back log of work, John Dane is looking to hire more ship builders.
Workers at nearby Huntington-Ingalls in Gulfport, who just received word that facility is shutting down, are invited to apply for openings at Trinity.
"We're constantly looking for new workers. We're short 100 workers in the ship fitting and outfitting trades. We know Huntington-Ingalls outfits their super structures. So, hopefully, some of their electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters, pipe welders will apply for jobs here at TY Offshore and Trinity Yachts," said Dane.
To better accommodate those Huntington-Ingalls workers who just learned they may be losing their jobs, Trinity will keep its employment office open Saturday, from eight until noon.
"We've got about three years of work. We're up to about 700 employees. And as I said, we need about 100 more in the ship fitting, pipe fitting trades," said Dane.
The Trinity employment office is located at the company's headquarters on Seaway Road in Gulfport.
The newly launched barge will undergo a few days of testing before it's delivered to the customer, Florida Marine Transporters.