Kvichak Marine builds aluminium workboats, adds fabrication skills to boat-builder Vigor Industrial’s portfolio.

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Vigor Industrial, the privately owned Portland company that merged with Oregon Iron Works last year, has scooped up Seattle-based Kvichak Marine Industries, adding to the growing product line diversification of the ship building company.

Kvichak Marine was commissioned in 2010 to build 30 oil-skimming boats to work on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
Kvichak Marine was commissioned in 2010 to build 30 oil-skimming boats to work on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

“The Kvichak team builds the best aluminum workboats in the country, arguably the world,” Vigor CEO and owner Frank Foti said in a statement. “Infusing those fabrication genetics into our broader operations is what industrial evolution is all about.”

Kvichak (pronounced kwee-jack) will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Vigor Industrial, which will continue to be run by Foti. Kvichak’s current owners, Jim Meckley, Brian Thomas and Keith Whittemore, will join Vigor as shareholders and as members of the leadership team. The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed.

Vigor became the Northwest’s dominant shipbuilding and marine-repair company in 2011 when it bought Seattle’s Todd Pacific Shipyards for $130 million. Vigor expanded again in 2012 with its purchase of Alaska Ship and Drydock followed by last year’s merger with Oregon Iron.

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Seattle-based Kvichak was founded in 1981 and has built 700 vessels used by commercial fishermen, law enforcement, fire departments, offshore oil spill response teams and the U.S. Coast Guard. The company’s 100 employees will bring Vigor’s employee base in Alaska, Oregon and Washington up to about 2,500, according to the release.

Adding Kvichak, Foti said, will strengthen Vigor’s role in supporting offshore oil and gas operations in the Arctic as well as lead the effort to recapitalize the North Pacific fishing fleet.