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March 26, 2010

Gulf Island to build RiverHawk OSVs for Iraq

Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc., Houma, La., says its subsidiary Gulf Island Marine Fabricators, L.L.C., has received a letter of intent to participate as a sub-contractor in the construction of two 60-meter Offshore Support Vessels for the Iraqi Navy. Gulf Island says the value of its portion of the contract will be included in the backlog when reported for the quarter ended March 31, 2010.

The primary contractor for the project is RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames LLC. As we reported on March 5, RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames, LLC, Tampa, Fla., has been awarded a $70,140,000 firm-fixed-price letter contract for the detail, design, and construction of two offshore support vessels and associated equipment and services for the Iraqi Navy. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales to Iraq. Work will be performed in Houma, La., and is expected to be completed by December 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $47.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured based on the terms of a Foreign Military Sales case which the Government of Iraq specified RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames, LLC, as the source for this effort. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-2222).

According to the Navy, the two ships "will play a central role in rebuilding vital maritime security capability, mission capability, focused primarily on support and defense of offshore oil terminals in Iraq."

So, who exactly is RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames? According to shipbuilding guru Tim Colton, RiverHawk is run by Mark Hornsby, formerly of Global Ship Systems, the company that used to operate the former Intermarine USA yard in Savannah.

Mr. Hornsby is one of the inventors cited on the international patent filing for a reconfigurable ocean-going vessel and is associated with RiverHawk Marine, a Tampa, Fla. ship and yacht repairer.

Mr. Hornsby is also one of the founding principals of the RiverHawk Group. It was established in 1996 to provide merger, acquisition, divestiture and related corporate finance services tailored to the needs of companies with annual revenues of $10 million to $100 million but is now, it says, focused primarily on the acquisition of select companies in participation with one or more investment partners.

Yet another of Mr. Hornsby's hats is that of managing director of RiverHawk Worldwide LLC. In that role, in May last year he signed a joint venture agreement with Jordan's King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) is to establish Jordan RiverHawk Shipbuilding and Support, PSC to manufacture, market and supply AMP-137 Advanced Multi-mission Platform Vessels and provide training and service and maintenance on each vessel sold.

It will be interesting to see whether the vessels to be built by Gulf Island for Iraq are versions of the AMP-137.

When Naval Sea Systems put out a solicitation for these vessels last year on behalf of the Iraqi Government, specifications included that they be a steel mono-hull design with a hull length overall at water line of at least 55 meters but not greater than 65 meters with a draft: not greater than 5-meters (planned depth of water at low tide of the Umm Qasr pier. Range was specified at not less than 1,500 nautical miles, speed as 16 knots and endurance: not less than 15 days.

The OSV was to be capable of launching, recovering, refueling, and maintaining three 9-meter FABs and be capable of mooring, refueling, and providing potable water to a 35-meter Patrol Boat (PB),

Capability requirements included high hover helicopter vertical replenishment during day time

Deck space was to be provided for one 30 mm gun and four .50 cal machine gun weapons stations.

AMP-137

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