Derecktor Shipyards weighs shutdown

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A year after attracting national attention for the launch of one of the world's largest private yachts - Cakewalk V - Derecktor Shipyards said it is considering a temporary shutdown of its operations in Bridgeport, Conn.

"We're not planning on leaving Connecticut,” Paul Derecktor, president of Derecktor Shipyards, told the Connecticut Post newspaper. He cited a slowdown in the shipbuilding industry as the reason for the possible shutdown, which he said would be temporary.

Derecktor said the shipyard is down to a staff of 20 to 25 who do maintenance work on ferries and other boats.

“It's tough times for us,” he said. “There's no new construction, and service is just barely enough.”

A year ago, Derecktor delivered the Cakewalk V, a 281-foot private yacht, the largest built in the United States in more than 70 years. The value of the contract has never been revealed, but other shipping industry experts placed it at more than $200 million, the newspaper reported.

As many as 225 people were employed during the build of the Cakewalk, but Derecktor said layoffs have occurred steadily since the boat was delivered in November.

Andrew Nunn, acting executive director of the Bridgeport Port Authority, told the Connecticut Post it is already lining up other potential tenants for the authority-owned site, called the Bridgeport Regional Maritime Complex.

“The BMRC will continue to operate as an active shipyard despite Derecktor Shipyard's reported plan to file for bankruptcy,” Nunn said in a statement. “The BMRC is an important local, statewide and regional asset for the marine industry. We are pursuing a new plan with strong industry partners. We have active work on the site now — Hornblower, a national maritime company, is building its first-of-a-kind hybrid ferry for use in New York City.”

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