Friday, March 16, 2018

Mine warfare contract

Alion Science and Technology Corp. of McLean, Va., is being awarded a $13,549,993 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for development, integration, testing and evaluation of prototype systems for existing or emerging unmanned vehicles, unmanned weapons and unmanned weapons control systems related to mine warfare, amphibious warfare, surface warfare, diving and life support, coastal and underwater intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and other missions in the littoral and riverine environments. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $72,974,234. Work performance locations will be determined with each order and will be completed by March 2023. FY 2018 Navy working capital funding in the amount of $10,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61331-18-D-0007). (Source: DoD, 03/15/18)

GA to expand Miss. facility

General Atomics' Electromagnetic Systems will invest $20M to expand for the 10th time in 13 years at its Shannon, Miss., facility. The project is expected to create 48 jobs over the next three years. The project includes a 128,000-square-foot addition to an existing facility, which will house manufacturing operations for complex, lightweight, compact and powerful laser systems and expanded fabrication facilities. The expansion supports increased demands for airborne, maritime, and land military lasers. The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance to help with equipment costs. Lee County will provide property tax exemptions. (Source: Area Development 03/15/18)

LCS 16 completes acceptance trials

MOBILE, Ala. - Littoral Combat Ship USS Tulsa (LCS 16) successfully completed acceptance trials March 9 after a series of in-port and underway demonstrations in the Gulf of Mexico for the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey. Acceptance trials are the final major milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy. The ship was built at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile. Its performance demonstrated an incorporation of lessons learned and continual ship-over-ship improvements, according to Capt. Mike Taylor, LCS program manager. "Tulsa is well on track to provide needed LCS war-fighting capability to the fleet and the nation,” he stated. While underway, Tulsa successfully demonstrated bow thruster, twin boom extensible crane operations with the rigid-hull inflatable boat; completed surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises; and ship-handling and maneuverability through high-speed steering and operation of its anchor. Tulsa will be commissioned into service following delivery, an Austal post-delivery availability, and a post-delivery availability that is focused on crew training, certifications and familiarization exercises in Mobile. The ship is to be home-ported in San Diego with sister Austal-built ships USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), and the future USS Manchester (LCS 14), which was delivered Feb. 28 and will be commissioned May 26 in New Hampshire. Additional LCS are under construction at Austal: Charleston (LCS 18), Cincinnati (LCS 20), Kansas City (LCS 22), Oakland (LCS 24) and Mobile (LCS 26). In addition, contracts for Savannah (LCS 28) and LCS 30 were awarded to Austal in 2017. (Source: Naval Sea Systems Command 03/15/18)

LCS 4 completes DT of mine module

SAN DIEGO - The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Modules program successfully completed Developmental Testing (DT) of the Coastal Mine Reconnaissance (CMR) mission module aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4) off the coast of Southern California, according to a March 15 release from Naval Sea Systems Command. The DT consisted of the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle with its Mission Control System, an N/DVS-1 Coastal Battlespace Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system with airborne payload sub-system, and the post-mission analysis sub-system that supports software and support containers. COBRA is integrated on the Fire Scout, and provides daytime detection of surface-laid mines, mine fields, and obstacles in the beach zone. Mission analysis is performed upon completion of the flight. The purpose of the DT was to exercise the system in realistic environmental conditions using the assigned crew and aviation detachment to verify that the system is ready for operational testing. (Source: Naval Sea Systems Command 03/15/18) Gulf Coast Note: USS Coronado was built at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Ala.

CBO offers 355-ship fleet scenarios

Two of four shipbuilding scenarios detailed in a report released March 14 by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) would create a 355-ship Navy by 2037, but FY 2018 Navy spending requests only maintains the status quo of the current 282-ship fleet. Starting in FY-18, and continuing for five years, the Navy’s FY-19 requests average $20.8B annually for shipbuilding that won’t pay for maintaining the status quo or pay for increasing the size of the fleet, according to CBO’s numbers crunching. The report offers four scenarios over three decades toward reaching 355 ships, which would require buying 330 new ships for 20 years and spending up to $104B to maintain this fleet through 2047. The president’s budget requests $20B to shipbuilding, and proposes to build 10 ships. “We must get to 13 ships and increase the budget accordingly,” said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chair of the House Armed Services’ seapower and projection forces subcommittee. CBO’s report suggests a funding level of $26B annually to hit the “sweet spot” of a 355-ship Navy, he added. The report requires the Navy to add between 12 and 13 ships a year, and spending on average $26.7B per year for shipbuilding. Opting for a smaller fleet would reduce the nation’s shipbuilding capacity and require slightly more than five ship-builds a year - less than one per seven shipyards, which may not be enough business to keep all seven shipyards yards open, the report states. (Source: USNI News 03/15/18)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

MS international security summit

BILOXI, Miss. – The State of Mississippi hosted an International Homeland Defense and Security Summit March 13 in this Gulf Coast city with an Air Force base and shipyard. Among attendees was the U.S. Coast Guard’s commandant; a general from India; and representatives from Taiwan and South Korea, but it appears Israel was a major player. Sixteen Israeli companies attended the summit, along with a delegation from Israel’s Defense Ministry and arms industry. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant couldn’t stop talking about Israel, crediting a 2016 national security conference he spoke at in Israel as the inspiration for this summit. Bryant noted that Israel knows about homeland security. They live in a “tough neighborhood,” the governor said. The Israeli delegation featured companies specializing in security technology. They were there to expand into the U.S. market with multiple tools, including a border security sensor system, and a surveillance system that is already being used in Baltimore and Houston police departments. Summit discussions focused on the Gulf Coast’s maritime economy, including boats ferrying drugs, migrants, and weapons across the waters; natural disasters like hurricanes; area military presence; and how manufacturing equipment like drones can boost Mississippi. (Source: Times of Israel 03/15/18) Israel Aerospace Industries has two facilities in Mississippi, including Stark Aerospace in Columbus.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

La. firm garners DOD fuel contract

Placid Refining Co. of Port Allen, La., and Hunt Refining Co. of Tuscaloosa, Ala., were among 16 firms that have each been awarded a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract under solicitation SPE600-17-R-0718 for various types of fuel. Placid Refining is to receive $101,487,613; and Hunt Refining $43,708,880. These were competitive acquisitions with 34 offers received. These are one-year contracts with a 30-day carryover. Locations of performance are Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Wyoming, Oregon, Illinois, New Hampshire and Louisiana, with a March 31, 2019, performance completion date. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy of Fort Belvoir, Va. (DOD 03/13/18)

ESG names OPC subcontractor

Maritime equipment manufacturer Schoellhorn-Albrecht of St. Louis, Mo., has been awarded a subcontract from Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) of Panama City, Fla., to design and build deck machinery, deck fittings, accommodation ladder system, and structural castings, include the shaft strut and stern tube for ESG’s design-build for the Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC). The OPC is the CG’s largest shipbuilding program. (Source: Marine Link 03/14/18)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Towing vessel search suspended

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard has suspended its search March 13 for Malon Dawsey and Karl Prince, two of the three people who were aboard the towing vessel Natalie Jean that sank March 12 on the Mississippi River in the vicinity of mile marker 90.5 on the Mississippi River near New Orleans. A good Samaritan vessel, Earl Gonsoulin, rescued one of the three. The river is closed from mile marker 89 to 90.5. There was an estimated 600 gallons of fuel aboard the Natalie Jean. The cause of the incident is under investigation. (Source: UPDATE 03/13/18)

NOLA port eyeing 2nd terminal

About 100 miles north of where the mouth of the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico in St. Bernard Parish, La., the Port of New Orleans is in an early phase of plans for a second container port terminal in anticipation of significant growth by 2019-20. The port authority recently authorized up to $300,000 to be awarded to Los Angeles-based AECOM Technical Services to conduct multiple evaluations of the 675-acre property, known as the Sinclair site, which has been identified as an ideal location for the new facility. The first of these studies will cover navigation and wharf engineering issues; followed by examinations of potential yard layout options, community impacts; and environmental concerns related to the construction of the cargo terminal, according to Michelle Ganon, NOLA port authority’s VP of public affairs. The site is owned by the non-profit Meraux Foundation. The property is large enough to potentially accommodate three new ship berths and associated facilities. A potential $1B development around this second container terminal, and additions upstream in New Orleans, is part of the port’s “Gateway Master Plan” that is expected to be released over the next few months, and would more than double NOLA’s annual handling capacity. Analysts are predicting a 400,000-TEU increase in containerized cargo from plastic resins alone from 2017-20. Port NOLA tenant TCI Packaging, a logistics and warehousing services provider that packages resin for export, is already planning a $36.5 million investment to construct a new “Mega-Plastics District” at the port that will grow the firm’s resin packaging capacity 180 percent by 2019. In January, Port NOLA President/CEO Brandy Christian said plans for the Sinclair site call for "more than just a container terminal,” and that the goal was to create a full-service logistics hub that attracts businesses reliant on access to deep-water marine facilities. (Source: American Shipper 03/12/18)

Gulfport Seabees in Israel

CAMP COBRA, Israel - A small contingent of four Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 from Gulfport, Miss., have been at Camp Cobra in Israel since February as part of exercise-related construction. The Seabees are supporting exercise Juniper Cobra 2018, a joint ballistic missile defense exercise, between the U.S. European Command and Israel Defense Forces. Alongside the Seabees is the Air Force’s Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE). Currently, it’s the rainy season in Israel. The Seabees have been tasked with establishing a water drainage system; excavating ditches to help establish drainage, and grading the site to allow water flow to a retention pond. NMCB 11 is home-ported at Gulfport’s Naval Construction Battalion Center, which is part of the Naval Construction Force (NCF). NMCM 11 has personnel assigned to more than 15 locations worldwide. (Source: NMCB 11 03/12/18)

DDG 114 sails from HII-Pascagoula

USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) set sail March 9 from Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., headed to Charleston, S.C., where it will be commissioned into the fleet March 24. The guided missile destroyer is named for 19-year-old Medal of Honor recipient, Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, a 19-year-old Vietnam War Marine. The ship is the 64th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and 30th DDG 51 class destroyer built by HII-Pascagoula. Following commissioning, the ship will make way for its new homeport in Everett, Wash. (Source: Sun Herald 03/11/18)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

HSM for hurricane support

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - The Joint Staff recently approved the Humanitarian Service Medal for all service members, Coast Guard, Reserve components that include the National Guard, who were physically present during recent hurricane disaster relief. Any qualified personnel who directly participated with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria relief efforts, and provided disaster support to impacted areas would merit receipt of the award. (Source: AF Personnel System 03/09/18)

East-Gulf ports' contract talk resumes

Labor negotiations are back on between terminal operators/container shipping lines and unionized longshoremen, at East and Gulf Coast ports from Maine to Texas, to reach a new contract agreement before a September deadline. Talks resumed after pressure from shippers and businesses, whose supply chains face disruption if port operations should slow or shut down during the fall peak shipping season. Discussions between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance Ltd. (USMX), which represents terminal operators and container shipping lines, broke off in December over disagreements over the definition of automation, as it applies to dockworkers. ILA President Harold Daggett has said that blocking job losses to automation would be a focus of the talks. On March 9, the ILA and USMX said in a joint statement that they are resuming talks. The two sides will continue to negotiate Master Contract issues and are encouraging local port areas to concurrently work out terms for local agreements. (Source: Wall Street Journal 03/09/18)

Harvey Gulf filing for Chapter 11

The offshore vessel operator Harvey Gulf of New Orleans and Port Fourchon, La., is filing for a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The firm cited the offshore market’s downturn as an underlying reason for the restructuring, which primarily consists of a debt-for-equity swap. Harvey's board and its senior lenders have voted to approve a restructuring plan to position itself for "continued long-term success." Harvey Gulf seeks to pay suppliers in full, and only senior lenders will be affected by a proposed stock swap. Their claims will be exchanged for new stock. The debts affected include three credit facilities totaling $1.2B, according to the plan. In addition, the private equity group Jordan Company will relinquish claims on Harvey Gulf's shipyard - the Gulf Coast Shipyard Group of Gulfport, Miss. Harvey Gulf described the yard as an important asset to retain for a market turnaround. In its filing, the company has assets of between $100M-to-500M, debts exceeding $1B, 500 mariners and a fleet of 60 ships, including the high-spec MPSV Harvey Sub-Sea and the LNG-fueled OSV Harvey Freedom. (Source: Maritime Executive 03/09/18)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Monitoring Lake Ponchartrain basin

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, along with numerous federal entities, have begun monitoring the environmental effects of opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Louisiana to lower water levels on the Mississippi River by moving part of the flow into Lake Pontchartrain. The spillway was opened March 8 by the Army Corps of Engineers; and is expected to remain open for some three weeks. Some of those effects could include algae blooms, caused by a combination of fertilizer and other nutrients, carried by the river interacting with sunlight. Such blooms have included blue-green algae, which is toxic to humans and pets. Large algae blooms can sink and cause low-oxygen dead zones on the lake’s bottom, which uses up oxygen after it decomposes. The LPBF will be monitoring how the addition of the river's freshwater reduces the salinity in the lake and as far east as Mississippi Sound; and effects on fisheries and oysters, said John Lopez, director of the foundation's coastal sustainability program. The combination of a brief opening period should limit the effect, he concluded. (Source: 03/08/18)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

New CG commandant announced

WASHINGTON - Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced the president’s nomination of Vice Adm. Karl L. Schultz to become the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on March 8. Vice Adm. Schultz, commander of the CG's Atlantic Area since mid-2016, currently serves as the operational commander for all CG missions from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf, and five CG districts across 40 states. Pending U.S. Senate confirmation, Schultz is expected to relieve Adm. Paul F. Zukunft in a change of command ceremony June 1 in Washington, D.C. Adm. Zukunft is retiring. Vice Adm. Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray was nominated as the CG's 31st Vice Commandant. Pending confirmation, Vice Adm. Ray will relieve Adm. Charles D. Michel in a change of watch ceremony May 24 in Washington. Adm. Michel, the CG's first four-star Vice Commandant, is retiring. (Source: Coast Guard 03/08/18)

VT Halter begins LNG ATB

A start of construction ceremony at VT Halter Marine‘s Pascagoula, Miss., facility has held March 8 for the first U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) articulated tug/barge unit (LNG ATB). The ATB will be owned by New Orleans-based Q-LNG Transportation. The company formed in November, and is one-fifth owned by Harvey Gulf International Marine and 80 percent by CEO Shane Guidry. The ATB’s tug, Q-Ocean Service, will measure 128-feet and be powered by four GE 6L250 MDC Tier 4 diesel engines. The 324-foot barge, Q-LNG 4000, is designed to carry 4,000 cubic meters of LNG and will meet ABS and International Gas Carrier requirements as an LNG bunkering barge. The construction is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, as part of a long-term contract with Shell Trading to deliver LNG fuel to various ports in Florida and the Caribbean. (Source: Work Boat 03/08/18)

NOLA among Marine mod contract

Homeland Security Solutions Inc. of Hampton, Va., is being awarded a $16,278,611 fixed-priced modification under a previously awarded contract (M00264-17-C-0014) for program management support, training, human resources services and non-guard security support services to the Marine Corps. This contract contains options, which if exercised, will bring the contract value to $27,032,448. Work will be performed at 17 locations in the U.S. and one in Japan. Among the U.S. locations is New Orleans' Marine Reserve HQ facilities on the West Bank. Work is expected to be completed Sept. 10, 2018. If options are exercised work will continue through March 9, 2019. FY 2018 Marine Corps operation and maintenance funds in the amount of $5,233,032 will be obligated at the time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was sole-sourced under Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1(a)(2)(iii)(B), as being the only responsible source. Marine Corps Installations National Capitol Region’s contracting office at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity. (Source: 03/08/18)

HII: $77M more for DDG repairs

Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Miss., is being awarded a $77,561,557 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification (N00024-17-C-4444) for the execution of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) emergent repair and restoration. This effort shall provide for additional collision repairs, maintenance and modernization of the damaged destroyer. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, and is expected to be completed by January 2020. FY 2018 Navy operations and maintenance funding in the amount of $31,630,520; and FY-17 other Navy procurement in the amount of $7,150,259 will be obligated at time of award. Contract funds in the amount of $31,630,520 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Naval Sea Systems Command of Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. (Source: DOD 03/08/18)