Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard
Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard in Sparrows Point, Maryland, USA, was founded in 1887 as Maryland Steel. It was acquired by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in 1916 and renamed. The shipyard was sold in 1997 to Baltimore Marine Industries Inc.. It is currently[when?] owned by Barletta Industries, which has converted it to the Sparrows Point Shipyard and Industrial Complex.
Maryland Steel built tugs, coastal passengers, dredges, cargo ships and a few destroyers. Following the purchase by Bethlehem, it serviced and repaired ships and manufactured industrial products. One famous vessel built in this early period was the Ancon, launched as Shawmut, which, in 1914, was the first ship to transit the Panama Canal.
World War II
During World War II, the Sparrows Point Shipyard built ships as part of the U.S. Government's Emergency Shipbuilding Program to help re-build the British Merchant Navy. Liberty ship production was a primary goal of the yard.
Baltimore Marine Industries Inc.
In October 1997, the shipyard was sold to the Veritas Capital Fund, a New York-based merchant banking and investment firm which built a $300 million cold rolling mill complex on the site with a scheduled opening in 1999.
Veritas reorganized the facility as Baltimore Marine Industries Inc. (BMI) and won two US Navy contracts for new ship construction and dismantling of older tonnage. Although BMI was selected to build a fleet of deluxe cruise ships, the cruise line was never able to secure financing. With no orders on the horizon and no work aside from the two modest Navy contracts, BMI collapsed in bankruptcy in 2003.
All assets were purchased by Barletta Industries Inc. in 2004 and reorganized as the Sparrows Point Shipyard and Industrial Complex. Barletta claims it has modernized the infrastructure and refurbished the yard to prepare for leasing specific yard structures, buildings and land to companies in maritime and heavy industry.
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (May 2008)|
- Papers of Frederick W. Wood at Hagley Museum and Library. Wood was a designer and constructor of the Sparrows Point steel plant and shipyard. He was also its president through its sale to the Bethlehem Steel Company.
- The Research notes on Bethlehem Steel Corporation at Hagley Museum and Library consist of materials collected by John B. Lovis for the writing of his book on the history of the Sparrows Point Plant, plus original Bethlehem Steel documents from his tenure in the Corporate Planning Department.