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Nichols Brothers to lay off 30 workers

Nichols Bros. Boat Builders announced a temporary layoff of 30 workers today. The layoff is expected to last three months.

The company said the reductions were "due to a buyer’s plan to acquire and rebuild existing vessels rather than purchase a new vessel from Nichols Bros."

The Freeland shipyard was bidding for a ferry project with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Nichols Brothers was notified early this week that the district has decided to purchase used vessels from the Washington State Ferry System instead of building a new ferry.

“This is a temporary workforce adjustment, not an indication that Nichols Brothers is headed into any serious financial issue," said Nichols chief executive Len York.

"Our current backlog includes building two new vessels, in partnership with Kivchak Marine Industries, for the WETA in San Francisco and two new tug boats for BayDelta Marine, all of which are good projects,” he added.

Nichols Brothers is also awaiting the Legislature’s approval of the bid to construct one or two new Island Home ferries for the Port Townsend-Keystone route. The company would work as a subcontractor of Todd Pacific Shipyard.

“If the Island Home ferries contract is approved, we could ramp up our workforce again and put many of those who were laid off back to work sooner,” York said. “We are hopeful that the contract for the 64-car ferries will be awarded soon.”

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