Senior officials of the Brazilian company Bravante were in Panama City last week to inspect their ships now under construction at Eastern Shipbuilding. Bravante's contract with Eastern for five platform supply vessels is worth $241 million and translates into 300 shipyard jobs for three years here in Panama City.
Brazil's growing economy is an important source of export-based job growth in the U.S. and the vessels being constructed at Eastern's Nelson St. Shipyard are bringing some of that growth to Northwest Florida. In fact, a White House press release highlighted Eastern's contract with Bravante as one of four "success stories" of job-supporting exports to Brazil made possible through the National Export Initiative and the U.S. Commercial Service.
Rio de Janiero-based Bravante is an offshore service vessel operator. The company's delegation to Panama City included Offshore Executive Director, Cristiane Marsillac; Offshore Commercial Director, Carlos Cruz and Offshore Commercial Manager, Gabriela Thielmann.
Eastern, U.S. Representative Steve Southerland (R-FL2) and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) were instrumental in helping Bravante leverage the National Export Initiative to obtain a loan guarantee from the US Maritime Administration in order to finance these five vessels. The vessels, which will be working in deep water drilling fields in Brazil. are roughly the length of a football field and equipped with high technology positioning systems.
On August 5th, Eastern will make final delivery to Bravante of the first vessel (Bravante V); the second vessel (Bravante VI) will be launched on the same day.
Eastern is the largest private employer in the area currently providing work for 1500 people. Recently, Harvey Gulf International signed a contract to build two construction boats at Eastern Shipbuilding. The Harvey Gulf contract will mean 400 jobs for 2 years. Eastern contracts with Bravante and Harvey will maintain the company's standing as the largest OSV/PSV and MPSV vessel construction shipyard in the United States.