In mid-February, Bollinger Shipyards, Eastern ShipbuildingGroup and Bath Iron Works were named finalists to build the Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC).
The Coast Guard awarded each yard a $21.95 million fixed-price contract for preliminary and contract design for the OPC. Each yard will further develop individual concepts during the Phase I period, which is expected to take 18 months. The Coast Guard will then evaluate each submission and select one shipyard for detail design and ship construction. The Coast Guard plans to build a total of 25 OPCs at an estimated cost of $10.5 billion.
“The new Offshore Patrol Cutters will be the most technologically advanced ships in the Coast Guard’s fleet,” Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in a statement following the announcement that Lockport, La.-based Bollinger was one of the three yards chosen for Phase I. “Our Lockport shipyard is uniquely equipped to develop and build this new fleet, but more importantly, winning this contract means that good-paying, high-skilled jobs will be created right here in Louisiana.”
Brian D’Isernia, president and CEO of Panama City, Fla.-based Eastern, said the shipyard is up to the task. “With a track record of 110 vessels built on-time and on-budget since 2002, we believe that we are the best shipyard to produce the vessels.”
Eastern said 2,000 jobs could be created in northwest Florida if they are awarded the final contract.
In a statement announcing the contract awards, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp said, “Affordability will be the central consideration as this acquisition moves closer to production.”
Bollinger President Chris Bollinger said in a statement that the yard is looking forward to delivering another “world-class design” to the Coast Guard. “For over three decades, Bollinger Shipyards has a legacy of producing exceptional Coast Guard Cutters on budget and on schedule.”
The Coast Guard issued the initial Request for Proposal in September 2012, and responses were received in January 2013. Other competitors for the OPC contract were Huntington Ingalls Industries, Marinette Marine, General Dynamics Nassco, Vigor Shipyards and VT Halter Marine.