shipyard floats 450-ton dock
- The Times Herald Record, Published:
Friday, June 15, 1979
NEWBURGH – On the
count of seven, a 450-ton dry-dock caisson slid into the Hudson
River Thursday at the Steel Style Inc. Shipyard on South Water
The huge caisson, which
took 18 months to fabricate, is bound for the U.S. Naval Shipyard
in Charleston, S.C., to help service and repair surface ships
and submarines in the Atlantic fleet.
The caisson is the first
of three to be built at Steel Style. Dave Plotkin, vice president
and general manager, said 90 men worked on fabricating the
caisson. Work will continue on the 116-foot long caisson when
it is floated to another portion of the shipyard, righted
to its 45-foot height and ballasted. Plotkin said the caisson
will be towed to Charleston in mid-September.
a series of these,” Plotkin said. “We’re
starting on another that’s due at the Norfolk, Va.,
Naval Shipyard in April 1981 and one due for the Pearl Harbor
Naval Shipyard in Hawaii in August (1981).”
The three contracts, which
range from $2 million to $4 million for each project, were
obtained through competitive bidding. Plotkin said Steel Style
is responsible for “fabricating, delivering and installing”
the caissons. While the trips to Charleston, S.C., and Norfolk,
Va., are scheduled to take about a week, Plotkin said he expects
it will take from 30 to 45 days to tow the caisson to Pearl
Harbor through the Panama Canal.
The caissons are towed in
a vertical position and draw up to 26 feet of water.
Before it was launched Thursday, the caisson was restrained
by three flat steel plates with a series of seven perforations
at one end. To launch the caisson, three men armed with blow
torches burned through the perforations one at a time, to
the countdown of seven.
When the last perforation
was severed, the caisson slid soundlessly into the Hudson
River, where a tugboat waited to guide it to another part
of the shipyard.
“You can say Steel
Syle thought it was a very successful launch,” Plotkin
The launching was timed
for high tide at 4 p.m. Thursday. Plotkin said the 3 _-foot
difference in the water level between high tide and low tide
could have meant the difference between a successful and an
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