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MGBW completes complex four-ferry overhaul project

Posted on August 8, 2022

Chula Vista Calif., headquartered Marine Group Boat Works (MGBW) recently completed a contract valued at more than $4.6 million for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. The work involved the service and repair of four San Francisco Bay area high speed, aluminum passenger ferries, the M/V Del Norte, M/V Mendocino, M/V Golden Gate and M/V Napa.

MGBW competed with an out-of-state yard to win the complex contract that required highly technical and unique experience and skills.

MGBW—one of the few remaining boatyards on the West coast with the facilities, resources, and skilled labor necessary for such a project—successfully hauled, serviced and launched all four U.S. Coast Guard-inspected vessels ahead of a very demanding schedule. This was accomplished, in part, by using its 665-ton mobile travelift, one of the most environmentally friendly of its kind in the world, with a CARB Tier 4 engine.

The Del Norte and Mendocino were serviced consecutively followed by the Golden Gate and Napa which were serviced simultaneously.

Each of the vessels was delivered by MGBW crew, including MGBW president Todd Roberts—a Cal Maritime graduate with a USCG license for vessels up to 1,600 tons — who brought the Napa among others down from San Francisco.

While all vessels received routine maintenance and inspections required by the USCG and upgrades to some of its systems, the Del Norte and Mendocino projects were considerably more extensive and complex.

The Del Norte was the first vessel to be serviced and took three months to complete. The scope of work involved a major removal and replacement of four MJP waterjet engines, updating communication systems, servicing shaft seals and seawater cooling systems, performed minor engine repair, and application of new paint to the hull. The vessel was launched in early 2021.

MGBW removed superstructure from hull
Work on Mendocino required removal of the superstructure from the catamaran hull

The Mendocino was completed in mid-December 2021 and took more than 20,000 labor hours to complete. The Mendocino had the most work done with major structural repairs that required MGBW to carefully remove the superstructure from the hull. This involved MGBW crew using the 665-ton travelift to lift the vessel and block it high off the ground. They then placed longitudinal beams and support stands under the superstructure. After unbolting all 100 raft mounts, they used the travelift to lower the hull away from the superstructure, separating them so that work could be performed between the two structures.

Golden Gate and Napa were the third and fourth vessels to arrive at MGBW and each took about four months to complete. These two vessels required the least amount of work with only routine maintenance and inspection from the U.S. Coast Guard. Golden Gate launched in mid-May 2022 while Napa launched at the end of June 2022.

MGBW has an impressive track record of servicing more than 275 passenger vessels in the last four years. Other passenger vessel companies it has serviced include the San Francisco Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), Catalina Express, Flagship Cruises, City Cruises (formerly Hornblower), Long Beach Cruises, Harbor Breeze Ferries and San Diego Maritime Museum.


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