ONAWAY, Mich. – Sparks are flying on the keel of the $1.9 million, 57-foot, aluminum fisheries research vessel for the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), at Moran Iron Works (MIW).

The USFWS and MIW announced the project in November of 2016 when the two parties met for an inaugural meeting in Onaway. Preliminary design of the vessel was performed by Seacraft Design, LLC, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, with MIW working to finalize the design and construction drawings.

The official laying of keel day was January 23rd,” said Jason Willis, project manager at MIW. “This well-designed vessel will provide a larger, faster and more efficient work platform for biologists in lakes Michigan and Huron for years to come. We’re proud to be a part of this project for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Construction will require some 11,000 man hours on the shop floor over the next ten months, employing a crew of 6. In October, 2017 the vessel will be transported by trailer to Moran’s Port Calcite location, the deep-water port in nearby Rogers City for launch to become the newest addition to the USFWS fleet.

A live remote camera is available for viewing updates on construction on MIW’s website at: www.moraniron.com/live.