More work for the yard; New contracts won by BMI total more than $9 million; Port


Baltimore Marine Industries Inc. said yesterday that it has won several contracts that will bring the shipyard more than $9 million in new work.

The contracts are one more step in BMI's ascent since it was created out of the former BethShip. Bethlehem Steel sold the shipyard to a New York-based merchant banking fund in 1997.

Since then, BMI has boosted employment from 25 to 750 -- about 50 more than BethShip had when it was put up for sale -- and 150 contract workers. The turnaround has come with help from workers, who agreed to a 75-cent hourly wage cut, to $12.75, in return for profit-sharing.

The new contract that will likely be most lucrative is a deal with Maersk Line for the dry docking and maintenance of the maritime prepositioning ship M/V Cpl. Louis J. Hauge. The job is worth more than $3 million and will create a month's work for about 225 workers beginning Dec. 27.

The other awards are:

A contract valued at more than $2 million for work on the USNS Butte, an ammunition ship from the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command fleet. The ship is expected late this month and the work is expected to take about a month.

The overhauling of the USNS Kanawha, a Military Sealift Command fleet oiler. The job, beginning Nov. 5, is expected to last 60 days, providing work for more than 100 employees and bringing the yard more than $3 million.

Maintenance on Princess Cruise's Royal Princess, worth more than $1 million and bringing work for more than 300 employees during its 10-day stay here.

A contract worth more than $500,000 for maintenance of Carnival Cruise's Imagination, which is due in the yard in early October. It will provide work for at least 200 workers during its 12 days at the yard.

Each job will also employ an undetermined number of contract workers.

BMI also won options to work on three additional ships for Maersk, each of which would be worth more than $3 million.

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