Access Daybreak: Staten Island Ferry among ships at Colonna's Shipyard

Access Daybreak: The Colonna Shipyard

NORFOLK, VA (WVEC) - A glimpse of the Staten Island Ferry along the Campostella Bridge got us curious about why the iconic sea transport was 360-miles away from the Big Apple.

Our journey took us to Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk, the family-owned company that has been rehabbing ships for 140 years.

Under an 8,000-ton ship at the property on East Indian River Road, V.P. Richard Sobocinski told me that the Staten Island Ferry is one of 300 ships that the shipyard maintains every year.

A total of 625 employees, which includes 125 being temporary workers, are employed by the shipyard to make repairs to both commercial and military vessels, which counts the Army Corp of Engineers among its clients.

Ship fitters, electricians, pipe fitters, steel fabrication technicians and riggers work to strip down a commercial ship, and makes it new again.

At 128-acres, Colonna's is a sprawling and highly secured facility, because it does a lot of work with the military, and things are getting bigger with the addition of a brand new dry dock that is under construction.

When finished, it will hold larger ships and will mean more help wanted signs could be put up for more skilled workers that will be needed to accommodate the extra work.

13News Now also got a look at a massive boat lift that can lift one thousand metric tons.

Instead of lifting a boat out of the river with a dry dock, the lift can hoist the ships of the water and placed with struts to keep it from tipping over, giving workers easy access hard to reach areas during the refurbishment process.

PHOTOS: Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk


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