Thames Shipyard awarded $420,000 grant

Thames Shipyard & Repair Co. on the Thames River in New London is seen in this 2010 photo. The company is receiving a $420,000 Small Shipyard Grant.
Thames Shipyard & Repair Co. on the Thames River in New London is seen in this 2010 photo. The company is receiving a $420,000 Small Shipyard Grant. Day file

New London - Thames Shipyard & Repair Co. Inc. has won a federal grant of more than $420,000 to help it meet increased customer demand while improving efficiencies.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who made the announcement Tuesday, called the Small Shipyard Grant "an important investment in our region's shipbuilding and maritime industry." The competitive grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A recently enlarged drydock at the shipyard on Ferry Street has drawn new business, according to Courtney, while also leading to job growth in the city. The grant will be used to acquire and install an ultrahigh-pressure surface preparation system that will more than double the shipyard's capacity in this area while offering a more environmentally sensitive system for cleaning vessels.

"We recognize the importance of quality and timely ship repair in the commercial industries we serve, and this project will ensure Thames Shipyard remains a leader in the Northeast," John P. Wronowski, president of Thames Shipyard, said in a statement.

With two high-capacity drydocks, the shipyard is one of the largest commercial ship repair facilities between Boston and New York. It specializes in ferry repairs and retrofits, according to the shipyard website.

Two years ago, the State Bond Commission approved $3 million in funding to improve Connecticut's deepwater ports. The money included $2 million for dredging and capital improvements in New London.

Some of these funds were used to help match nearly $1.5 million in federal support to aid in the expansion of drydock No. 2. Thames Shipyard kicked in nearly $9 million in private funding as well.

The projects, taken together, are expected to allow the shipyard to serve more vessels annually. Dredging also has helped Thames Shipyard attract larger vessels than it was able to service previously.

l.howard@theday.com

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