BAE May Lay Off Half of Alabama Shipyard's Staff
BAE Systems' ship repair division announced Thursday that it will be reducing staff levels at its Mobile, Alabama facility by up to 200 positions, half of the current payroll. The announcement confirms an earlier notice filed with Alabama’s labor regulators.
Layoffs are scheduled for October and November. BAE cited a downturn in the volume of shipbuilding and ship repair activity on the Gulf Coast.
The individuals who may be affected have been notified, BAE said in a statement.
“We recognize that the workforce reduction is directly impacting talented employees and our shipyard team overall," BAE said. "This workforce decision is not a reflection on the employees’ contributions to the organization, as it is in recognition of the industry and economic conditions we face. We greatly appreciate the hard work of the employees who will be leaving our organization.”
The yard's capabilities include repair and conversion of ships and rigs, marine and industrial fabrication and heavy lift crane capacity to 275 tons.
In 2010, BAE purchased the Mobile shipyard from private equity firm J.F. Lehman, along with yards in Jacksonville and Mayport, Florida and Moss Point, Mississippi. BAE's Mobile facility site has been a shipyard since 1916 (with a brief closure in the late 1980s).
The Gulf of Mexico offshore oil industry and its supply chain have been hit hard by the dramatic fall in oil prices over the past year. Many yards, offshore supply vessel operators and others have been forced to slim payrolls; in one other large-scale example, marine structures contractor Gulf Island Fabrication warned earlier this year that it could have to trim 230 positions from its payroll due to a shortage of work. Don Pierson of the Louisiana Economic Development Department told local media in June that over 15,000 people in his state alone had lost work due to the offshore downturn.