The Coast Guard Meets With Potential OPC Builders, But No Rush

Federal Times reports the Coast Guard is meeting with ship builders interested in participating in the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) program, August 10-20. The plan is to build 25 ships to replace the entire existing fleet of WMECs (29 ships if I count right).

Federal Times quotes Carl McGill, surface systems chief for the Coast Guard and the OPC contracting officer, “After this round of talks is concluded, the next event for the OPC program will be an industry day, probably in November. A draft request for proposals is expected to be released “early next year,” McGill said, with a pre-solicitation conference to be held about a month later.

“Sometime next year three shipyards should receive Coast Guard contracts to prepare detailed OPC designs — an effort expected to take up to two years. A down-select to one shipyard is expected to be made in late 2014 or early 2015. The first OPCs are expected to be delivered in 2018 or 2019.”

And the oldest 210s will be how old then? 54 years old. Not to mention Acushnet and Alex Haley.

And when do we expect to see Arctic Patrol Cutters? And new Ice Breakers? Icebreaking tugs? Inland buoy tenders?

Are we behind the power curve? I know this is not the fault of the current administration, but we don’t seem to be making our case before Congress. Want to stimulate the economy. Ship building is a good way. We fought WWII in half the time it will take before we see the first OPC, and we did design and build a few ships during that time.

Think our MECs are having problems now, wait five years, no wait eight or nine.

And shouldn’t we really be building 33 to replace all the MECs and the short fall in 378 replacements.

We have to do better.