Paxton: US shipyards ready to build next generation of polar icebreakers

The following is the text of a news release from the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA):

(WASHINGTON) — In testimony Tuesday before the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, cited the proven track record of the men and women of the U.S. shipyard industry as he described the capability and capacity of the U.S. shipyard industry to build the next generation of polar icebreakers.

“U.S. shipyards pride themselves on implementing state-of-the-art training and apprenticeship programs to develop skilled craftsmen that can cut, weld, bend and build truly first of kind vessels and the best Navy and Coast Guard in the world,” said Paxton during testimony.

Paxton also cited the 2015 Maritime Administration Economic Benefit Study on the U.S. shipyard industry highlighting the more than “110,000 highly skilled craftsmen in the nation’s private shipyards building and repairing America’s military and commercial fleets,” who have the “expertise, the capability, the critical capacity and the unmatched skilled work force to build these (polar icebreakers).”

“Matt’s testimony today reflects that not only is the U.S. shipyard industry ready to build icebreakers, but that our industry has the skill, capacity and ingenuity to build the next generation of these sophisticated vessels,” said Tom Godfrey, chairman of SCA. “Not only has the administration supported this initiative, but members of both parties, in both the House and the Senate, understand the critical nature of these vessels for economic and homeland security.”

Recent budget proposals from both House and Senate committees have committed additional funds toward the development of U.S. Coast Guard assets, including the procurement of a new polar icebreaker. Icebreakers are critical to facilitate commerce in Arctic waterways and on the Great Lakes throughout the year; the vessels are also used by government entities for research purposes and by private entities for commercial activities.

The hearing, convened by the House Coast Guard and Maritime Subcommittee and chaired by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and ranking member Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., discussed “Coast Guard Arctic Implementation Capabilities” to assess the capability of the U.S. shipyard industry to build the next generation of polar icebreakers for the U.S. Coast Guard.

By Professional Mariner Staff