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.”

At Panama City, Fla.-based Eastern, shipyard officials said they were happy to be a part of the final cut and are willing to do what it takes to win the final contract. "With a track record of 110 vessels built on time and on budget since 2002, we at Eastern believe that we are the best shipyard to produce the vessels which will cost effectively fulfill the United States Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter mission," said Eastern president and CEO Brian D'Isernia. "Eastern's location in Northwest Florida is the perfect place for construction of the Coast Guard's Offshore Patrol Cutters."

The Coast Guard said that awarding multiple design contracts ensures that competition is continued through to a potential down-select for detailed design and construction, establishes a fixed-price environment for the remainder of the contract and incorporates a strategy to maximize affordability. 

Bath Iron spokesman Jim DeMartini said the yard is pleased to have been selected by the Coast Guard to participate in the preliminary and contract design of the OPC program. "It's great news for Bath Iron Works, and we look forward to the opportunity to compete in this new and very important effort," he said.

In a statement announcing the 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 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,” Bollinger said in a statement.

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.