Eastern wins contract for Coast Guard offshore patrol cutters

Esgopc Pressrelease

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(WASHINGTON) — The Coast Guard awarded a contract to Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. of Panama City, Fla., on Thursday for the production of the lead offshore patrol cutter (OPC) and up to eight follow-on cutters.

The total award was valued at $110.29 million. The contract has a potential value of $2.38 billion with options to produce nine cutters.

The OPC acquisition will replace the service’s aging fleet of medium endurance cutters, some that are in excess of 50 years old. Each OPC will feature a flight deck and advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.

The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the national security cutter and the fast response cutter, which operates closer to shore.

“The offshore patrol cutter acquisition is the Coast Guard’s highest investment priority, and we are proud to announce this important milestone,” said Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul Zukunft. “The offshore patrol cutter will replace our aging medium endurance cutters and provide the majority of offshore presence by the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet. Whether combating transnational organized criminal networks off Central America or patrolling in the increasingly accessible Arctic, the offshore patrol cutter will ensure our nation’s maritime security and economic interests are preserved for decades to come.”

The first OPC is expected to be delivered in fiscal year 2021; the service plans to build 25 OPCs. The Coast Guard is currently evaluating home-porting options.

The following is the text of a news release from Eastern Shipbuilding Group:

(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) — After conducting a thorough evaluation of proposals submitted by competing shipyards, the U.S. Coast Guard has awarded the largest vessel procurement contract in Coast Guard history to Eastern Shipbuilding Group. Eastern was selected to finalize its design and construct the first series of nine offshore patrol cutters to replace the medium endurance cutters currently in service.

The contract is initially for nine vessels with options for two additional vessels. The Coast Guard program goal is to build 25 offshore patrol cutters having a potential total contract value in excess of $10 billion. Initially, Eastern has been awarded the detail design effort with a value of approximately $110 million.  Construction of the first vessel is expected to commence in 2018.

“The OPC will be the backbone of Coast Guard offshore presence and the manifestation of our at-sea authorities. It is essential to stopping smugglers at sea, for interdicting undocumented migrants, rescuing mariners, enforcing fisheries laws, responding to disasters and protecting our ports," said Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the Coast Guard.

Eastern Shipbuilding is a family-held shipbuilding company located in Panama City, Fla. An employer in Bay County for over 40 years, Eastern currently provides jobs for more than 1500 employees. Since 2008, Eastern has spent more than $75 million in upgrading and expanding its facilities and shipbuilding capabilities to continue growing and meeting the needs of its commercial and government customers. At the full ramp-up of the OPC contract, Eastern anticipates expanding its work force with additional craftsmen and additional engineering and administration staff to fulfill the contract requirements. Eastern will also continue to provide quality vessels for commercial customers, maintaining its success and providing numerous jobs in the competitive, cost-conscious commercial shipbuilding market.

Securing this contract was based on Eastern’s reputation as an industry leader in the construction of mid-range tonnage commercial ships, with a record of delivering 149 out of 150 ships on time and on budget since 2002. Over the past 10 years, Eastern has delivered vessels, ranging from 80 feet to 433 feet in length, many with complexity comparable to the offshore patrol cutter. Efficient, commercially based production processes ensure affordability in the construction of these Coast Guard vessels.

The Coast Guard’s Program of Record calls for procuring 25 offshore patrol cutters as replacements for the 29 medium endurance cutters currently in service. Eight shipbuilders originally provided draft designs for the cutters. The Coast Guard down-selected to five shipbuilders to refine designs. In 2014, the Coast Guard awarded firm fixed-price contracts to three shipyards to develop preliminary and contract design proposals for the project.  

The Coast Guard conducted a thorough evaluation of the three proposals based on technical factors, management, ability to produce and price factors. Eastern’s design includes the following features: length 360 feet; width 54 feet; speed in excess of 22 knots; capable of carrying an MH-60R or MH-65 helicopter; capable of carrying three OTH small boats. The vessel also includes a highly sophisticated combat system and C4ISR communication suite which will allow the Coast Guard to continue to support and execute the Coast Guard’s missions.

Brian D’Isernia, Eastern CEO, and Joey D’Isernia, Eastern president, expressed their absolute confidence in the ability of ESG to secure this contract. Joey said, “We knew from the beginning that the U.S. Coast Guard would appreciate our excellent performance record of on-time delivery of high-quality vessels built by our first-rate craftsmen." Brian added, “We believe that the Coast Guard is going to get the best value for its money and the finest vessels to succeed in its mission.”

By Professional Mariner Staff