As a result of these factors, among others, our vessel utilization and day rates were significantly reduced in the first quarter. For example, our saturation diving vessels and our construction barges, the assets that generate the lion's share of our profitability, experienced a strong decline in effective utilization levels and when they did work, they worked at lower day rates.
Internationally, the Sea Horizon, our combination derrick/lay barge is in a scheduled drydock and we managed one small project offshore for one of our DSVs. By comparison, in the first quarter of '09, we had two major projects offshore last year in India and Libya.
In the face of these tough market conditions, we are focused on cost control, tendering, customer service, and solid safe project execution, things that we can control. We have an experienced management team, we've gone through this type of market before, and we know how to maneuver in this market.
If you turn to slide five, I'll give you a little bit of color on our backlog. We have $191 million in backlog at the end of first quarter, which is a small improvement over the backlog of $183 million at the end of last year. We are especially pleased with having won a portion of Chevron's Gorgon project offshore Australia. We will be working as a subcontractor to provide diving support services in the shallow water portion of this project. The majority of this project is to be performed in the fourth quarter of 2010. Of this $191 million backlog, about 80% involve the U.S.-based projects and 20% are international projects. The majority of the backlog is salvage, decommissioning work, and IMR work.We have about $1.8 billion in total bids outstanding. Over last year, our total bids outstanding levels hovered around $1.2 billion to $1.9 billion range. So we are about where we would expect to be at this point. Most of these projects we are bidding on are scheduled to go offshore in the middle of 2010 and beyond. Since the close of the quarter, we've added a number of projects totaling about $42 million to our backlog. As evidenced by these recent awards, we remain active in our bidding levels. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com