BATON ROUGE – Gov. John Bel Edwards and Bollinger Shipyards CEO and President Ben Bordelon announced last week the shipyard has won a contract to build 26 Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters, or FRC, for the Coast Guard.
The cutters, which represent the newest generation of Coast Guard patrol vessels, are a replacement for the Coast Guard Island Class cutters that Bollinger built more than a quarter-century ago.
The project will retain 500 jobs, with the potential to provide new employment opportunities for the region. The company is based in Lockport, Louisiana.
“Shipbuilding has been an important industry in Louisiana for generations, and the armed forces of the United States have long relied on the talents of Louisiana’s shipyard workforce,” Gov. Edwards said. “This new contract award to Bollinger Shipyards builds on that legacy. The work will provide good-paying jobs for hundreds of skilled workers in the Bayou Region for years to come, as Bollinger continues its tradition of constructing vessels of the highest quality for the U.S. Coast Guard.”
Bollinger was awarded the contract for the first Fast Response Cutter in September 2008. As of February 2015, seven contract options have been awarded to Bollinger to bring the total number of FRCs under contract to 32.
With this Phase II award, the total number of cutters will reach 58. To date Bollinger has delivered 17 FRCs, which are currently in service in Miami and Key West, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
“We are so pleased with this award to build 26 FRC Coast Guard cutters,” Bordelon said. “Our relationship with the Coast Guard began over 30 years ago and we are proud to continue building on that legacy. This is a testament to the skilled Louisiana-based team of Bollinger employees.”
The Sentinel Class of FRCs is informally known within the Coast Guard as the Hero’s Class of cutters. All of the vessels have been named after enlisted men and women in the Coast Guard who have performed extraordinary deeds in the line of duty.
Each cutter built by Bollinger measures 154 feet long, with a beam of 25 feet, 5 inches and a draft of 8 feet, 5 inches. It will accommodate a crew of 24 for up to five days at sea. Its missions will include search and rescue, drug and illegal migrant interdiction, homeland security and maritime defense.
LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, began discussions with Bollinger about a potential project in late 2014. The State of Louisiana provided letters of support and other project assistance.
“Bollinger has been an important company for this region for a long time, and it has survived and thrived through many market changes,” said President and CEO Vic Lafont of the South Louisiana Economic Council.
“This new Coast Guard contract is a testament to how the company has embraced innovation to diversify itself over time. In this industry, the will to adapt and succeed can’t be underestimated.”
Bollinger has been building patrol cutters for the Coast Guard for more than 32 years. During this time, Bollinger has built 143 patrol craft, addressing the broad sweep of missions that the Coast Guard has been assigned.
The Coast Guard’s stated mission is to protect the public, the environment and the United States’ economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America’s coasts, ports and inland waterways.
Posted on Tue, May 10, 2016
by The Lafourche Gazette