Fincantieri Marine Repair, a division of Fincantieri Marine Systems North America (FMSNA), welcomed its first commercial customer to Commodores Point in downtown Jacksonville last week, marking the start of operations in northeast Florida.

FMSNA announced last month that they were ready to provide repair and maintenance services to military, commercial, and large private vessels on the East Coast beginning in 2022. And a few days into 2022 and the team at FMSNA is already busy with a 340-f00t commercial vessel.

According to Ryan Smith, FMSNA’s President and CEO, the response from the community has been encouraging following their announcement in December.

“The feedback from the community and many in the maritime industry has been encouraging and positive,” said Ryan Smith. “We are excited to get to work now for our commercial customers, but we also are investing millions of dollars in waterfront improvements, like a large U.S.-Navy approved dry dock, which will allow us to be a top-tier marine repair operation for military and government vessels as well.” said Smith.

The first customer is special to any business, but in this case there is more to it: the first vessel is the recently-competed liquefied natural gas (LNG) barge Clean Canaveral, which was built by another Fincantieri shipyard, Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. The team at Fincantieri Marine Repair will now provide testing and trials for the Clean Canaveral.

Fincantieri’s head of U.S. operations, Dario Deste, congratulated the FMSNA team and emphasized the importance of growing the sustainment effort in the U.S. “We have a collaborative ‘system of yards’ approach with our Wisconsin shipyards to gain efficiencies and create value for our customers,” said Deste. “And in the same way, we intend to leverage our global sustainment capacity to support customers and to be a partner for the entire lifecycle of these vessels.”

Deste added, “The U.S. Navy wanted additional maintenance and sustainment support for Fincantieri-built military ships homeported in nearby Mayport, and that’s what we’ve done. But there are other military, government and commercial customers who need sustainment help as well, especially in the southeastern U.S.”

With FMSNA’s expansion in northeast Florida, Smith plans to employ more than 300 men and women over the next three years. These jobs include positions in pipefitting, shipfitting, welding, electrical, outfitting, preservation, and mechanical specializations.

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