Detyens Shipyards, Inc. Is a unified group of full-service shipyards, each covering a slightly different segment of the repair market. William Detyens, a merchant mariner who saw a need for a new ship repair service in the Charleston, South Carolina area, started Detyens in 1961. The company prospered and grew, servicing both the commercial and naval markets. Mr. D. Loy Stewart, Detyens’ son-in-law, bought the yard in the 1980s and started a new growth era. At that time naval ship repair was a major business segment for the company and a second site (Shipyard River) opened in Charleston to handle the workload. In the mid 1990s, when the US Navy was downsizing, Detyens leased the shipyard segment of the old Charleston Naval Facility on the Cooper River. This included three large graving docks, machine shops, portal cranes and all the support structure necessary for a shipyard of this size.
With the acquisition of the new site came a change in our market direction. The commercial side of our business had always been good to the company and Detyens always pursued this market segment. With the reduction in the US naval ship count and its follow-up slowdown in ship repair and conversion contracts, we were well situated to aggressively market commercial ship repair. Detyens closed the Shipyard River site, moved the drydock from that site to our Wando River site in Mt. Pleasant, SC, and concentrated on keeping both Charleston area yards full.
Detyens headquarters is now located in the old Naval Yard. From here, we handle estimating and contracting for both yards. Our current major source of work and income is through commercial ship repair, with some naval repair and a growing foreign military sales (FMS) group. As part of FMS, we have repaired and/or up-graded military vessels for several countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Portugal, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Our commercial side continues to grow and we are in the beginning stages of a new commercial marketing program that includes some advertising and quite a bit of face-to-face customer contact by the President of the company, Mr. Stewart. In addition, we have one of the largest ship repair oriented machine shops on the eastern seaboard of the Americas. With our central location on the US East Coast shipping lanes and the easy access into and out of our yards, ships are in and out quickly with either planned or emergency repairs. Detyens expects to continue our present controlled growth mode and should reach manning levels of nearly 800 employees.