Eastern Shipbuilding not awarded second phase of Offshore Patrol Cutter program

Eastern Shipbuilding will not be building the rest of the Offshore Patrol Cutters for the Coast...
Eastern Shipbuilding will not be building the rest of the Offshore Patrol Cutters for the Coast Guard.(United States Coast Guard)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Eastern Shipbuilding may not be building the rest of the Offshore Patrol Cutters for the Coast Guard.

The announcement came Thursday afternoon.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio says the Coast Guard announced the program, which is for up to 11 cutters, is moving out of Florida.

“[Thursday’s] decision is short-sighted,” Rubio said. When I visited Eastern Shipbuilding last year, I saw firsthand their commitment to building reliable, state-of-the-art ships. They have proven they can do the job and do it well. This decision will cost taxpayers more money and slow down the delivery of these critical vessels.”

“We are extremely disappointed in this decision and are evaluating our options,” Joey D’Isernia, the President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., told us in a statement.

Eastern Shipbuilding was awarded a $10.5 billion contract to build two dozen cutters in September 2016. Final design reviews were made in July 2018, with construction starting in September of that year. Hurricane Michael hit our area the next month, October 2018. But that only slowed the project down a little, with construction continuing in January 2019.

Eastern Shipbuilding officials say they are still working on the four cutters they did receive contracts on.

“This is not the last you’ll hear from us about this,” said Jessica Ditto, Vice President of Communications at Eastern Shipbuilding group. “This is now in the review phase and once we get a clearer picture we will talk more about our next steps.”

The Coast Guard says in a press release that Phase 2 of the program was awarded to Austal USA of Mobile, Alabama. The initial award is valued at $208.26 million. It supports detail design and long lead-time material for the fifth cutter, according to the Coast Guard. The contract has a potential value of up to $3.33 billion, with options for production of up to 11 cutters in total.

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