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Shipyard Touts Tampa Site for Icebreakers

Thursday, July 12, 2018

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A U.S. Coast Guard initiative to produce new icebreaker vessels for use in polar waters could bring thousands of jobs to western Florida if one of the shipyards in the running for the long-term product contracts gets its way.

Bollinger Shipyards, headquartered in Lockport, Louisiana, announced Monday (July 9) that it will produce the new polar icebreakers at its Tampa Bay Shipyard if it wins the contract for the design and construction of up to three heavy icebreakers, and potentially three more medium vessels.

Cutter Healy
U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard's current Arctic fleet consists of two vessels, including the Healy, pictured.

Bollinger was one of five shipyards to receive contracts for industry studies for the heavy polar icebreaker program in February 2017; the others were Fincantieri Marine Group LLC (Washington, D.C.), General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (San Diego), Huntington Ingalls (Pascagoula, Mississippi) and VT Halter Marine (Pascagoula, Mississippi).

Icebreaker Improvement

The Coast Guard and U.S. Navy issued a request for proposals in March for planning and engineering, with the option of detail design and construction, for the heavy icebreakers.

The icebreaker program aims to bolster the Coast Guard’s polar fleet, which currently consists of two ships—a medium icebreaker built in 2000, called the Healy, and a heavy icebreaker built in 1976, the Polar Star, expected to be retired within five years.

Bollinger says if it is chosen for the icebreaker job, it will build the vessels at the Tampa Bay facility, where the company says it would add more than 1,000 skilled shipyard jobs by 2020. Depending on the ultimate size and scope of the program, the shipyard could be busy through 2035 delivering the heavy and medium icebreakers, and the program could produce more than 3,000 jobs in the Tampa area, according to Bollinger.

Bollinger has been building the Coast Guard’s Fast Response Cutter fleet at its Lockport facility for the past decade, and expects that program to continue through at least 2023.

“We have built over 150 vessels for the Coast Guard in Louisiana beginning in the early 1980s,” Bollinger CEO Ben Bordelon said in a statement. “We anticipate taking our cumulative knowledge of this customer, our expertise in building complex vessels and serial production techniques to Florida and creating an even greater economic engine than we presently have.”


Tagged categories: Newbuilding (marine); Ships and vessels; U.S. Navy

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