PORTLAND — A heavy-lift vessel transporting the parts for a $50 million dry dock will be a striking sight this weekend as it makes its way up the Columbia River to Portland.
The Dutch vessel Blue Marlin is carrying the Chinese-built components of the dry dock that Vigor Industrial LLC plans to use for repairing large cruise ships and other vessels at Swan Island.
The 738-foot Blue Marlin is known as the world's largest heavy-lift ship, the Oregonian reported.
Vigor Industrial said the three pieces of the dry dock will be 960 feet long once they are assembled, which is expected by Nov. 1.
Ship repair companies use dry docks to pull ships out of the water for maintenance.
With the new dock, Vigor hopes to work on larger ships, including cruise ships that pass Oregon on their way to and from Alaska, said Chief Executive Frank Foti.
The dock was scheduled to arrive in March but encountered construction delays.
Two ships awaiting maintenance are queued at Swan Island.
Foti said the arrival of the dock marks a turnaround in the company's fortunes.
It had fewer than 80 workers at the Portland shipyard in the mid-1990s and sold a similar dry dock in 2001 to raise money to pay creditors. It went to the Bahamas.
The new dock is due to cross the Columbia River bar Sunday morning and arrive in Portland on Monday.
The company said boaters are being advised to keep their distance to ensure safety.
It said people looking to catch a glimpse of the vessel and its load can get information on the company's Twitter feed.
It suggested potential viewpoints along the river: the Astoria Riverwalk and Astoria Column; Willow Grove Park in Longview, Washington; and Kelley Point Park, the St. John's Bridge and the university bluffs in north Portland.