Port watchers will remember that a dozen years ago, the ship repair company then called Cascade General (now called Vigor Industrial) sold the largest floating dry dock in the Western Hemisphere for $26.5 million.

The dock was at Swan Island on the Willamette River. The sale was controversial at the time because the company had only just bought its North Portland shipyard for $30.5 million. That purchase included what the Port called Dry Dock 4, which was built in 1976 with $84 million in public money.

Observers—including WW—speculated Cascade CEO Frank Foti was merely liquidating the assets he'd bought cheaply from the Port. When the massive (982 feet long, 87,000 ton) dry dock (a floating ship repair facility used to lift vessels out of the water) was towed off to the Bahamas, it seemed like the beginning of the end of Portland's ship repair business, which has operated at Swan Island on the Willamette for decades.

But Foti proved the doubters wrong.

Since 2000, he's built a thriving business on the Willamette and acquired Todd Shipyards in Seattle.

Today, Foti went full circle, announcing the purchase of a new $40 million dry dock, just about the same size as the dock he sold.

Here's the release from Vigor:

Vigor Industrial has reached an agreement with Daoda Marine Heavy Industry Company (DDHI) to purchase a new floating drydock for $40 million. At 960 feet long, with an inside width of 186 feet and a lifting capacity of 80,000 long tons, it will be the largest floating drydock in the United States.

“We decided now is the time to buy because demand to service large vessels is growing and large drydock capacity in proximity to the US West Coast has diminished,” said Vigor Industrial CEO Frank Foti. The new drydock, set to be stationed in Portland, will be 300 feet longer than the largest drydock Vigor currently owns. It will be one and half times wider and will be able to lift more than triple the weight.

This new capacity will allow Vigor to service the incoming generation of the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) dry cargo/ammunition ships, which are replacing some smaller MSC ammunition, combat stores and fuel ships. The drydock will be large enough to service private vessels including post-Panamax cargo ships and cruise ships. The increased capacity will also help Vigor meet growing demand from the Arctic as oil and gas exploration and other ship operators take advantage of longer ice-free summers.