Mississippi shipyard gets $746M contract for icebreaker

MGN Online

A Mississippi shipyard won a $746 million contract Tuesday to design and build the first of what could be three heavy polar icebreakers for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 10:57 AM

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi shipyard won a $746 million contract Tuesday to design and build the first of what could be three heavy polar icebreakers for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command awarded the contract to VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, choosing Halter's bid over two other finalists. Halter Senior Vice President Robert Socha said the award means the shipyard will hire up to 450 more employees, on top of the 400 it's already adding to build four barracks barges for the U.S. Navy. The hiring would push Halter's total employment above 1,300.

The Navy and the Coast Guard will jointly oversee design of the ship for expected delivery in 2024. The contract includes options for two more heavy icebreakers, which would bring its overall value to $1.94 billion, with work continuing through 2027.

Socha said VT Halter CEO Ronald Baczkowski was among those celebrating late Tuesday when the contract was announced.

"Ron started screaming and hollering, 'We won! We won!'" Socha said.

The Coast Guard is calling the class of ships polar security cutters, an echo of the national security cutters that nearby Ingalls Shipbuilding has been constructing. The unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said it would like to have up to six icebreakers, including three medium ones, saying it needs to compete with Russian and Chinese icebreakers.

The ships would replace the two icebreakers currently operated by the Coast Guard, the heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star and medium icebreaker USCGC Healy. The Polar Star entered service in 1976, while the Healy was commissioned in 1999.

"This contract award marks an important step towards building the nation's full complement of six polar icebreakers to meet the unique mission demands that have emerged from increased commerce, tourism, research, and international activities in the Arctic and Antarctic," Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant, said in a Tuesday statement .

The announcement says most work will be done by Halter in Pascagoula. Socha said about a quarter of the estimated value of the work would be performed by naval architect Technology Associates in New Orleans. Design development will be jointly overseen by the U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command and the Coast Guard.

"Winning the contract to build the polar security cutter is a great achievement for the talented shipbuilders at VT Halter," U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who oversees the Coast Guard as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement . "The ships we build in Mississippi will help close the gap in our polar defense and ensure American mariners cannot be denied access to the Arctic region by our adversaries."

The government of Singapore, through its Temasek Holdings investment firm, owns 51 percent of Singapore Technologies Engineering. That company owns Halter.

Socha said the other finalists were Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, Louisiana, and a partnership between Philly Shipyard of Philadelphia and Fincantieri Marinette Marine, the Wisconsin-based subsidiary of an Italian shipbuilder.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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