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Project America Delayed

September 4, 2001
American Classic Voyages, the home-grown cruise line that’s building new ships at a U.S. shipyard -- the first leisure vessels to be crafted on this soil in nearly 50 years -- is admitting that the construction schedule is running behind. The first of two 1,900-passenger ships, now being built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is rumored to be as much as 18 months behind schedule. AMCV President Rod McLeod candidly acknowledges the lateness but won’t comment on exactly how much past the original January 2003 launch he expects the delay to run.

“We are in active discussions with the shipyard and are hopeful we will come to an agreement that will insure delivery of Project America,” he said late last week. He admits there have been challenges. “We predicted there would be,” he says. “We were aware there would be some surprises as we went along.” One such challenge for the shipyard has been reorienting itself from “a focus on military work to commercial work,” McLeod adds, noting that one, for instance, is getting accustomed to using steel processing that’s thinner than that required by U.S. naval vessels. “We don’t expect to be hit by torpedoes so we don’t need big thick steel hulls,” he says. “It might sound simple...but they’ve found it very difficult.”

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