USA shipbuilder Metal Shark announced its entry into the towboat market on 22 October 2018 with a contract to build three 120’ x 35’ river towboats for Florida Marine Transporters, Inc. of Mandeville, Louisiana.

The four-decked, welded-steel, USCG Subchapter M-compliant towboats were designed by John W. Gilbert Associates, Inc. and will be powered by twin Cat 3512C Tier 3 marine diesel engines rated at 1,911hp each. Construction is underway at Metal Shark Alabama, with deliveries commencing in 2019.

The contract signals Metal Shark’s expansion into the steel shipbuilding sector and formal entry into the inland towboat market following the company’s June acquisition of the assets of Horizon Shipbuilding.

With that purchase, Metal Shark, best known as a builder of welded aluminum vessels, assumed ownership of a fully developed 35-acre Alabama shipyard and announced its intent to significantly expand its steel shipbuilding efforts.