Pacific Shipyard International overhauls one-of-a-kind ship

The overhaul crew stands in front of the newly renovated SBX-1.

Pacific Shipyards International provides skilled services for the U.S. Navy and U.S Coast Guard, including preserving, repairing and modernizing private and commercial vessels. Located in Hawaii, PSI holds the title as the largest privately owned shipyard in the state, and at any given time, it employs 100-plus Boilermakers, all out of Local 627 (Phoenix).

Boilermakers were on the job for one of Pacific Shipyards’ latest and largest renovation projects: the overhaul of the Sea-Based X-Band Radar. PSI bid for the Maintenance Repair Availability for the SBX-1 schedule for fall 2020, competing among generally West Coast and other Hawaii shipyards.

The job win perhaps shouldn’t be too surprising, considering the past 12-plus years, PSI has been the overhaul shipyard of choice for SBX-1. But, according to PSI CEO Iain Wood, keeping the work on SBX-1 with PSI can prove challenging since the ship can move anywhere.  Winning this MRA, he said, highlights the quality of the workforce and capabilities at PSI.

“The fact that we’ve collectively been successful in being able to keep the ship in Hawaii is a testament to the good work we are doing for our customer,” he said.

Wood noted that this overhaul in particular is historically one of the largest in Hawaii, and the last time SBX-1 was docked for an overhaul was about a year and a half prior.  The job required workers to preserve the massive undersurface of the upper platform by installing white plastic containment.  The total “shrinkwrapped” area covered close to two acres, and containing that large of an area came with some risk.

“This presented the biggest challenge and risk due to the entire undersurface of the upper platform being suspended with scaffolding,” Wood explained.

Boilermakers met the challenge, completing the job 150 feet up and under the scaffolding. Additionally, they faced meticulous work in needing to waterblast the ship and contain the water runoff for environmental reasons. And the ultimate task of painting it all within the four-month deadline was no small feat.

Boilermakers began the overhaul Sept. 15 with clear scopes of work, performing the majority of the work on site on a platform at Pearl Harbor on Ford Island while some small portions of work came back to the shipyard.  Workers were granted base access and base clearance to access SBX-1 at Pearl Harbor.

Another unique aspect of the job and work for PSI was that all the crafts at Pacific Shipyards fall within Boilermakers jurisdiction, from electrical to carpentry to painting, welding and more.

“In contrast to other shipyard locations, PSI is 100% represented by Boilermakers,” said Jacob Evenson, Local 627 business manager.

Pacific Shipyards, with Boilermakers on deck at work, managed all the overhaul tasks safely and completed the job five days ahead of schedule on Jan. 12.