Eastern Shipbuilding Group working to get back $3 billion contract
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Eastern Shipbuilding lost out on a $3 billion project with the U.S Coast Guard, and officials with the company said on Friday during the Bay County Chamber of Commerce meeting that they are fighting to get it back.
The second phase of the Off Shore Patrol Cutter Program was awarded to Austal USA, a company out of Mobile, Alabama. They will be making up to 11 cutters according to a press release from the company.
At the meeting Friday, Eastern’s Deputy Program Manager for the Off-Shore Patrol Cutter Program said they did file a protest against the Coast Guard’s decision with the U.S Government Accountability Office.
“A GAO protest has a 100-day time limit so we will see a decision for that in October. However, GAO isn’t necessarily the end of the protest process there are other means to continue that,” Brendan D’Isernia, deputy program manager for the OPC program, said.
Eastern employs more than 1,400 direct and subcontract laborers in Bay County.
“But in the community that is multiplied by about two so for every job at the shipyard, there is an additional support job in the community so there is around 2,800 right here in the area,” D’Isernia, said.
Jobs that rely on contracts for work, and if the protest does not go their way, officials said this could potentially put jobs at risk.
“If we do not get it there is a risk to those jobs, right? So OPC stage two was the shoo-in to fill that so that is why we are significantly disappointed and continue to protest the decision,” D’Isernia, said
Losing out on a $3 billion contract with the coast guard was not ideal, but they are looking for other options for other contracts.
“We will continue to actively pursue other contracts to make sure that we can continue our trajectory and we are well positioned to do that from the community support,” D’Isernia, said.
Community support from organizations like the Bay County Chamber of Commerce.
“Anything they need, we are here for. We have had meetings about future events they have coming up,” Wes Johnson, VP of communications at Bay County Chamber of Commerce, said. “But as the protest process plays out if they need anything from the chamber we will be there to support them.”
Despite Eastern not being awarded the second phase of the cutter program, right now they are focusing on the four they were awarded in the first phase.
NewsChannel 7 did reach out to Austal USA and was told they were not doing interviews on the cutter program at this time.
Copyright 2022 WJHG. All rights reserved.