Daily Comet: Bollinger gets $250 million contract for Coast Guard ships
Xerxes A. Wilson
Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport will receive a $250 million federal contract to build six U.S. Coast Guard ships in the next three years, which could create several hundred jobs.
The contract is the largest in Bollinger's history and adds six new vessels to the 12 the Coast Guard has ordered from Bollinger.
"Our entire organization is so proud to say that we have built every patrol boat (of this type) the Coast Guard owns," said Chris Bollinger, executive vice-president of new construction for the shipbuilding giant.
The money for these ships are included in the 2012 federal spending bill, according to U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., who chairs the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. The money is part of $8.9 billion allocated to the Coast Guard in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's budget.
"Acquiring funding for these fast response cutters was a high priority for me. These exceptional ships will replace a portion of the Coast Guard's aging patrol boat fleet and ensure its ability to carry out critical lifesaving, law enforcement, and homeland security missions for decades to come," Landrieu said in a press release.
Bollinger said the contract is going to give the company a backlog through the end of 2015 and has the potential to create "several hundred jobs."
A projected 800 jobs will be maintained at the Lockport facility and would otherwise be lost without the contract, Landrieu's office said.
Work on the boats will be done entirely at the company's Lockport facility.
The vessels are Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters used for patrols off the coasts. The boats built by the company will be stationed in Miami and Key West.
Bollinger said the boats are 154-feet-long and run about 28 knots with a stern launch system for a smaller cutter boat that can travel about 40 knots. They also have a highly sophisticated command control and communication electronic infrastructure that will be installed by one of Bollinger's major subcontractors.
"I'm just so proud of the quality of workmanship of our people to know the Coast Guard has confidence in our ability to produce these vessels," Bollinger said.
Each vessel takes about 16 to 18 months to complete and will be delivered on a two- to three-month staggered period.
Bollinger so far has delivered three fast response cutters. Two of those, the Richard Etheridge and Bernard C. Weber, were put into service earlier this year. The third will be commissioned in November while a fourth is scheduled to be delivered in the same month.