International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

Smith Berger Marine Inc. has delivered “the largest counterbalanced swivelhead fairlead we have ever built” to Royal Boskalis Westminster according to Tom Phipps sales manager at Smith Berger.

The fairlead is installed on the stern deck of the trailing suction hopper dredge Queen of the Netherlands to handle the anchor. The model MD-665 unit has a 65-inch sheave and will withstand the breaking strength of three-inch wire rope or 818000 pounds at 90-degree wrap on the sheave. It has received a survey of manufacture by the American Bureau of Shipping. It weighs 18800 pounds.

The fairlead was sold through the company’s agent Lemans Nederland BV. Smith Berger received the order for the specially designed unit on October 7 1997 and it was shipped from their plant in Seattle on March 13. On March 14 it was loaded onto the Hapag Lloyd ship M.L. Hoorn and delivered a month later to the Verolme Scheepswerf yard in the Netherlands where the dredge was built.

Located in Seattle Smith Berger is an employee-owned company that manufactures deck and wire rope handling equipment for the marine industry with sidelines in other industries. They are moving to new quarters as of the first of the year.

“This is a very good opportunity for us and will allow us to increase capacity in our effort to reduce lead times” said Phipps. The new location about four blocks away from their old site will allow for a separate enclosed welding area having its own ventilation system. The machine shop was operating in the new facility by the end of October and the welding sales and support staff will be in place after the first of the year. The entire staff is looking forward to the brighter more spacious quarters said Phipps.

Established in the early 1900’s Smith Berger Marine has been operating under its present name since 1983. Edmund Augustine Smith began the company to build a salmon butchering machine that is still widely used today. His company was called Smith Canning Works. In the 1930’s Knute Berger developed a swivel head fairlead for the logging industry and established Berger Engineering to produce it. During World War II the fairleads were used on military ships and in the early 1960’s the two companies joined forces to become Smith Berger Manufacturing changed to Smith Berger Marine in 1983.

A decade later company president James Montgomery on his retirement set the wheels in motion to place the company in the hands of the employees through an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan.) The employees will eventually own 100 percent of the company stock. Ken Bullock is president.