Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard

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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.. As of 2012, it is owned by Barletta Industries, which has converted it to the Sparrows Point Shipyard and Industrial Complex.[1][2]


S.S. Hoxbar ready for launching at Sparrows Point, Maryland, February 15, 1919

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.[citation needed] 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.

Facilities at the yard included a graving dock, a floating drydock and two full-service outfitting piers which together provided nearly 3,000 feet of berthing space.[citation needed]

World War II[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Once part of a chain of 17 shipyards operating under BethShip, the Sparrows Point Shipyard was the only location remaining by 1990.[citation needed]

Baltimore Marine Industries, Inc.[edit]

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 which opened 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.[3]

Although BMI was selected to build a fleet of deluxe cruise ships, the cruise line was never able to secure financing.[citation needed] With no orders on the horizon and no work aside from the two modest Navy contracts, BMI collapsed in bankruptcy in 2003.[4]

Barletta Industries[edit]

All assets were purchased by Barletta Industries Inc. in 2004 and reorganized as the Sparrows Point Shipyard and Industrial Complex.[citation needed] 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.[5]

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