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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.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7823176
DeSoto676778
Harrison490283
Jackson439383
Rankin385986
Madison375793
Lee349079
Forrest298078
Jones285384
Washington253799
Lafayette244042
Lauderdale2398134
Lamar219038
Bolivar199477
Oktibbeha197654
Neshoba1820111
Lowndes175562
Panola167638
Leflore163287
Sunflower158849
Warren153255
Monroe146572
Pontotoc145219
Pike137256
Lincoln136856
Marshall136226
Copiah135736
Coahoma124036
Scott123829
Grenada120638
Yazoo119933
Simpson119549
Union116025
Leake113940
Holmes113760
Tate113639
Itawamba111325
Pearl River110559
Adams105243
Prentiss102919
Wayne99421
Alcorn96712
George95718
Covington94525
Marion93342
Tippah86521
Newton84927
Chickasaw83225
Winston82621
Tallahatchie82525
Tishomingo79741
Hancock78727
Attala78126
Clarke72750
Clay68421
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61812
Noxubee59617
Smith58516
Claiborne53416
Montgomery53123
Tunica52317
Yalobusha51314
Lawrence50414
Perry48423
Carroll46812
Greene45918
Stone45514
Amite42013
Humphreys41916
Quitman4176
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster36613
Wilkinson33120
Kemper32115
Benton3194
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27110
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1064
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22720374
Mobile14405314
Tuscaloosa10066137
Montgomery9820196
Madison907894
Shelby715361
Lee646165
Baldwin644369
Marshall431048
Calhoun416059
Etowah412249
Morgan400033
Houston365532
DeKalb325428
Elmore312852
St. Clair283842
Limestone273630
Walker269993
Talladega259135
Cullman231024
Lauderdale212540
Jackson205515
Autauga202130
Franklin201731
Colbert193330
Russell19053
Blount187325
Dallas186027
Chilton182632
Escambia171428
Coffee16829
Covington166629
Dale163851
Chambers133043
Pike131313
Tallapoosa129587
Clarke127317
Marion105029
Butler99840
Barbour9969
Marengo98222
Winston90613
Geneva8447
Lawrence81131
Pickens81117
Randolph80514
Bibb80114
Hale74830
Cherokee72314
Clay72212
Lowndes70228
Henry6386
Bullock63717
Monroe63610
Washington62312
Crenshaw59830
Perry5816
Wilcox55912
Fayette55713
Conecuh55613
Cleburne5327
Macon53020
Sumter46821
Lamar4595
Choctaw38712
Greene34016
Coosa1993
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