Metal Shark shipyard acquired by Birdon

Birdon plans major investment, 300 more jobs

An aerial view of Metal Shark’s 32-acre shipyard in Bayou La Batre.

Metal Shark Boats, a shipbuilder that dominates the Bayou La Batre waterfront, has been acquired by Birdon America.

Birdon says it plans to make “significant capital outlays” at the shipyard and add about 300 new jobs in the next two years.

Based in Denver, Birdon works in marine shipbuilding and repair, disposals, engineering and marine propulsion and does work for the U.S. military. Like nearby shipbuilder Austal USA, on the Mobile waterfront, Birdon is part of a global firm based in Australia.

“The acquisition of this shipyard will ensure the successful delivery of the Waterways Commerce Cutter (WCC) Program, a vital component of Birdon’s $1.187 billion contract to design and build 27 new vessels for the U.S. Coast Guard,” Birdon said in announcing the acquisition.

 Jamie Bruce, CEO of Birdon Group, said, “The investment in this facility will not only ensure we deliver on our promise to the U.S. Coast Guard, but it will also provide an opportunity for our subcontract partners in southern Alabama to build and install all components of these vessels in one location.”

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Birdon described Metal Shark as “a fully developed shipyard fronting a dredged deepwater inlet” with five steel buildings, 1,700 feet of waterfront, a 660-ton Travelift, cranes and all facilities for construction of steel and aluminum vessels up to 300 feet in length and 1,500 tons launch weight.

“This shipyard is situated just minutes from the Intracoastal Waterway with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico,” Birdon concludes.

Metal Shark acquired the facilities from Horizon Shipbuilding in 2018 after Horizon faced bankruptcy.

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