Thursday, January 18, 2018

Zumwalts have no ‘big gun’ weaponry

The futuristic Zumwalt-class destroyers are years away from being ready for combat, but the Navy still don’t have a load for its “big gun” weaponry. In 2016, the Navy canceled plans to purchase the long-range land attack projectile (LRLAP) for DDG 1000s, designed to be fired from the ship's massive 155mm Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) weapon, and at a pricey cost of some $800K per round. The ship is expected to reach operational capability by FY 2020, but there’s still no substitute. Capt. Kevin Smith, program manager for DDG-1000, said the Navy continues to watch industry for a solution. Each of the three DDGs, built at Bath (Maine) Iron Works, cost about $4B. Zumwalt was commissioned in 2016; Michael Monsoor is expected in March; and Lyndon B. Johnson is set for delivery by 2020. The first commanding officer of the Zumwalt, Capt. James Kirk, indicated that the purpose of the ship is “going to be looking at shifting the mission set … to a (long-range) surface strike, land-and -sea-strike surface platform," he said. That’s a contrast to its previous focus on being on suppressive firing from close to land. The Zumwalts are not without weapons: Sea Sparrows; tactical Tomahawks; and anti-submarine missiles; plus a pair of 30mm chain guns. Officials have discussed the possibility of arming AGS with a hypervelocity projectile, like the electromagnetic railgun being tested for a second time by the Navy. A decision to move forward has yet to be made. ( 01/12/18) Gulf Coast Note: In 2006, the Navy funded two ships – one to be built at Ingalls in Pascagoula, Miss., and one at BIW. Ingalls was awarded a $90M contract modification for materials and production planning in November 2007. In February 2008, BIW was awarded a contract for DDG 1000. Ingalls was awarded a contract for the construction of DDG 1001, USS Monsoor.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

76th commander at NAVOCEANO

SLIDELL, La. - Capt. Ron Piret became the 76th commanding officer of the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) during a ceremony held at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium on Jan. 12. The NAVOCEANO is a multi-mission government agency located at Stennis Space Center, Miss., which conducts oceanographic and hydrographic surveys carried out by six T-AGS 60 class survey ships under the command's technical control. Piret is a graduation of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physical oceanography. He earned a master’s in oceanography and meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Among some of his operational duties, Piret served as oceanographer and duty coomand officer in USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72); and commanded Provincial Reconstruction Team Uruzgan, Afghanistan, working with multi-national and inter-agency partners in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. NAVOCEANO is comprised of about 800 military, civilian and contract personnel various platforms, including unmanned underwater vehicles, to collect oceanographic and hydrographic data from the world's oceans. (Source: Naval Oceanographic Office 01/17/18)

Conrad delivers pushboat ‘Ray S’

Conrad Shipyard delivered the 102-foot twin-screw pushboat, the Ray S, to Houston-based Enterprise Marine Services in late December 2017. The boat was built at Conrad’s Amelia, La., facility and a christening took place Jan. 15 Enterprise’s Houma, La., location. It is the fourth boat Conrad has built for Enterprise. “We wanted the versatility that this boat gives us as a 3,000 (hp) boat that can run on the river or intracoastal (waterway),” said Jacob Brown, Enterprise’s director of shipyard operations. (Source: Work Boat 01/16/18)

Changes to LCS warfare packages

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy will unveil changes to the number of mission warfare packages it plans to buy for the Freedom- and Independence-class Littoral Combat ships in its FY 2019 budget, said Capt. Ted Zobel, the LCS mission module program manager. The three LCS warfare packages each have a number of weapons, sensors and unmanned systems used for missions related to anti-submarine, surface, and mine-countermeasures warfare. Changes to existing programs could spell millions of dollars for companies manufacturing those products. The LCS program had planned to buy 24 surface, 24 anti-submarine, and 16 mine-countermeasure warfare modules. “That’s going to change,” Zobel told reporters. He declined to elaborate. The changes were being driven by the Navy purchasing 32 LCS vice 55; and to semi-permanently install the mission equipments instead of having swappable package. The SW package is scheduled to hit initial operational capability in FY-19, followed by the anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures modules in FY-2020. (Source: Defense News 01/16/18) Gulf Coast Note: Austal USA builds the Independence-class LCS at Mobile, Ala. Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, Fla., has been intimately involved in the mine-countermeasures warfare package development.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bill directs all BP funds to South MS

The Mississippi Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB 2176 on Jan. 15 that would direct 100 percent of the BP oil spill settlement money into an account for Mississippi coastal projects. The bill created the Gulf Coast Restoration Reserve Fund, which would hold the money separate from the general fund. The bill was authored by Sen. Brice Wiggins (R-Pascagoula). The bill heads to the full Senate for consideration. Wiggins wrote a similar bill last year that died in the House of Representatives. (WLOX 01/15/18)

Bollinger to build ATB for Alaska firm

Crowley Fuels LLC has signed a contract with the Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards for the construction of a new 100,000-barrel-capacity articulated tug-barge (ATB) to transport multiple clean petroleum products in the Alaska market. The Alaska-class vessel will be built at Bollinger Marine Fabricators Shipyard in Amelia, La., with an expected delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019. The build contract includes an option for a second ATB. (Source: Marine Link 01/15/18)

Independence commissioned in 2010

On Jan. 16, 2010, the first-in-class Littoral Combat Ship USS Independence (LCS 2) was commissioned at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Ala. The original contract was awarded to General Dynamics in 2003. The contract to build LCS 2 was awarded to Austal USA in mid-October 2005. The keel was laid down Jan. 19, 2006. Delivery to the Navy was in December 2008. LCS 2 completed its maiden voyage in April 2010. (Source: U.S. Navy 01/16/18)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Metal Shark patrol boat joins PR fleet

JEANERETTE, La. - Louisiana-based boat-builder Metal Shark has delivered its new law enforcement patrol boat, Metal Shark 35 Defiant, to the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD). It has already been put to use in the ongoing Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. PRPD’s other Metal Shark boats weathered the storm undamaged in September and have served on relief missions around the coast and the islands of Culebra and Vieques. The new 35-foot aluminum pilothouse patrol vessel was built at Metal Shark’s Jeanerette production facility. It joins a fleet of 36-foot Metal Shark Fearless-class high performance center console patrol boats delivered to the PRPD in 2017. Defiant is the first new boat to enter service with the PRPD since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. (Source: Metal Shark 01/15/18)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ports' contract talks still in limbo

American beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and container lines may have to start their annual trans-Pacific rate and service negotiations without a new longshoremen labor agreement for the Gulf and East coast ports. Bargaining sessions by the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) has been stalled since Dec. 6, when talks broke down after a dispute over the definition of automated terminals, which ILA President Harold Daggett opposed. ILA and USMX leadership hoped for an agreement on a contract extension, which would assure shippers scheduled to attend the Journal of Commerce’s (JOC) yearly Trans-Pacific Maritime (TPM) conference in California from March 4-7. The ILA prez told union officials to cancel plans to attend TPM, which suggests no extension is expected beforehand. The current ILA-USMX contract extends to Sept. 30. Shippers have been anxious for an early deal, which allows for supply chain plans without potential disruption from port shutdowns. ILA and USMX will resume negotiations on a Maine-to-Texas master contract, but no bargaining sessions have been scheduled. ILA had indicated it would be willing to delay negations until contract ends. But, Daggett directed ILA locals to continue local and regional agreements as supplements to a Gulf-East coast master contract. Local contract issues vary by port. (Source: 01/14/18)

Shifting sands of Navarre Pass

Navarre, Fla., has the same sugary white beaches and gleaming Gulf waters as do the more tourist-mecca destinations of Destin and Pensacola beaches. But there’s something missing from turning Navarre, and Santa Rosa County, into a competitive stop for tourists, say area leaders. That something is a boating path from the sound to the Gulf of Mexico. Today, Navarre-based boaters must travel either 24 miles to Destin Pass or 24 miles to Pensacola Pass to reach the GoM. Without a pass, county and congressional leadership says Navarre is missing out on billions in potential development. "It could be an economic engine for our entire county," said SR commissioner Bob Cole. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, (R-Fort Walton Beach) has pledged to reopen it, which he concludes would make the county among the wealthiest in Florida. The congressman also has suggested BP oil spill monies to be set aside for projects like Navarre Pass to spur economic development. Gaetz's father, former state Senate President Don Gaetz, sits on the board that oversees $1.5B from the BP oil spill settlement. But nothing is simple with the county's nearly 50-year battle for the pass. In 1965, there was a pass, but it was closed by debris from Hurricane Betsy. Cole is a supporter of re-opening it, but sees it as an improbable task due to the strong objections from the Defense Department, Gulf Islands National Seashore and environmentalists, and Eglin Air Force Base. (Source: Pensacola News Journal 01/13/18)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Large oyster shell reef completed

EGLIN AFB, Fla. - The largest oyster shell reef in the Choctawhatchee Bay watershed, coming in at 1,700 feet long in Alaqua Bayou, has been completed with the assistance of volunteers and a partnership between the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College and Eglin Air Force Base. The reef is made up of 13,000 bags of shells collected, and dried, for more than a year from local restaurants. The reef's design is to reduce shoreline erosion, provide habitat for juvenile oysters, and enhance the ecosystem for fish and crustaceans, according to a media release from CBA. Each oysters can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day that is suspected to improve the bayou’s water quality. CBA works to enhance swimmable and fishable waterways through monitoring, education, restoration, and research. (Source: NW Florida Daily News 01/12/18)

How will IoD define Florida?

U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke declared he was “taking Florida off the table” for new offshore oil drilling. Does that mean all of the Sunshine State? Zinke’s announcement offered few details. “Right now, his promise is just empty words,” said U.S. Sen. Nelson (D-Fla.), who has opposed offshore drilling. Does it mean both coasts – Atlantic, Gulf and the Straits of Florida? IoD has months to decide, and could be far from a drilling blockade. Oil and gas (O&G) firms are hoping for wiggle room. IoD’s proposal opened the door for selling drilling rights in a small pocket of the eastern GoM right away and auctions of territory throughout the region after a scheduled ban from drilling ends in 2022. “How will Interior define ‘Florida’?” asked Kevin Book, managing director of Washington-based ClearView Energy Partners LLC. A broad definition would include all three offshore planning areas that surround the state, including the straits. “Until Interior says differently,” claimed National Ocean Industries Association’s president Randall Luthi, “we’re in the middle of an administrative process, and that’s how we’re going to treat it.” IoD will have an opportunity to provide more specifics later in 2018, when it issues a formal proposal for selling offshore oil leases - after a public comment period and environmental assessments. (Source: Bloomberg 01/12/18) In an e-mail to constituents Jan. 12, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla. 1st District) proclaimed “some great news” for Florida after Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced he will no longer pursue plans to drill for oil off the coast of Florida. “I feel confident that drilling will not come to Florida during this presidency,” he wrote. On Jan. 22, Gaetz will host an “Open Gaetz Day” in Cantonment followed by one Jan. 25 in Milton.

Friday, January 12, 2018

LCS cost reduction ‘hull over hull’

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Navy is achieving cost reductions with each Littoral Combat Ship hull completed, and with fewer discrepancy results from acceptance trials, LCS program deputy Neal White told attendees Jan. 11 at the Surface Navy Association National Symposium. In recent years, each LCS has been delivered at a progressively lower cost, all within the congressionally imposed 2010 cap of $480M per ship-variant, he said. LCS shipbuilders Austal USA of Mobile, Ala., and Lockheed Martin at Marinette, Wis., have delivered 11 ships in two separate variants – Independence and Freedom. Eighteen are under contract; and two are in the FY 2018 budget. The 2018 defense budget authorized a third LCS, but it awaits funding. If it’s funded, there would be a total production of 32 LCS. The program office has been incorporating changes in design from lessons learned in operations. Modifications and changes to Austal’s Independence variant include USS Jackson (LCS 6) will include habitability improvements and bridge wings; and USS Kansas City (LCS 22), which will be delivered with habitability improvements, increased magazine protection, shock-hardened water system, a Lightweight Tow assembly; and space for a future over-the-horizon missile. (Source: Seapower Magazine 01/11/18)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

DOI launches major reorganization

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke launched a new effort Jan. 10 to undertake the largest reorganization in DOI’s 168-year history that purports to move and shift tens of thousands of workers to new locations, and change the way the U.S. government manages more than 500 million acres of land and water across the America. The plan would divide the U.S. into 13 regions and centralize authority for different parts of DOI within those boundaries. The regions would be defined by watersheds and geographic basins, rather than current boundaries that guide DOI's operations. The proposed plan would be accompanied by a dramatic shift in location of the HQs of major bureaus – like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). Zinke brought 150 Senior Executive Service (SES) personnel to explain the proposal and seek input. He then split them into working groups to discuss ways to streamline BLM and USBR, Fish & Wildlife Service and other agencies. The SES groups identified alternative cities outside Washington, Denver and Albuquerque, N.M., where thousands of employees could live with suitable schools and homes they can afford. DOI has some 70,000 total employees. (Source: Washington Post 01/10/18)

NYC next up to sue Big Oil

New York City has become the latest city in America to sue the world’s largest oil companies over their industrial contributors to climate change. The case against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell is City of New York v. BP Plc, 18-cv-00182, and is to be heard in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo, Imperial Beach, and Marin, Calif., had previously filed suits against the oil industry over the environmental impact of fossil fuels. The suit claims the companies are “collectively responsible” for more than 11 percent of all carbon and methane pollution from industrial sources “since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution," lawyers for NYC said in their complaint late on Jan. 9. NYC hopes to build on its legal efforts against producers of asbestos products, cigarettes, and lead paint as an extension of legal responsibility. The lawsuit is based on claims that corporations make on products causing severe harm when used exactly as intended, and that those firms “should shoulder the costs of abating that harm," the city said in the complaint. (Source: Bloomberg 01/11/18) Gulf Coast Note: In 2014, the Top 10 emitting states were responsible for nearly half of the America’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, nearly equal to the combined emissions of Japan, Canada, Germany, or all of India, according to a report by the World Resources Institute. Louisiana accounted for 3.4 percent of U.S. emissions (#8). Texas, California, and Pennsylvania were the Top 3. Florida was #6.

NJROTC manager retires

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The director of the Navy's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) program was recognized for his 17 years of leadership during a retirement ceremony here Jan. 5 at the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Dr. J. D. Smith was presented with the Distinguished Civilian Service Award by the commander of Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi. "It's been wonderful being able to assist in the development of the nation's youth through the JROTC program," said Smith who retired after 44 years of federal service. Smith began his federal civil service employment at the flag-command HQ of the Chief of Naval Education and Training in Pensacola in 1973. In 2002, Dr. Smith was selected to become the NJROTC program manager. Navy JROTC was founded in 1964 as a citizenship development program for high school students and in U. S. secondary educational institutions. The program is currently under the direction of NSTC, headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., and includes 573 units worldwide. NSTC command oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. (Source: NSTC 01/11/18) Among some of the coastal Mississippi JROTC units are at Gautier High School, Moss Point, and Pascagoula. Among coastal Louisiana units are Brother Martin High School, Landry Walker, and McDonogh 35 all of New Orleans, Covington, LaGrange of Lake Charles, and Slidell Senior. Among some of the Alabama units are Robertsdale High School, Gulf Shores, and Davidson of Mobile. Among NW Florida units are Arnold High School of Panama City; Escambia and Pine Forest of Pensacola; and Milton, Pace and Navarre. Dr. Smith is also a former Pensacola City Council representative.

MS firm among MSC awardees

Talon Electrical Mechanical Group, Park Ocean Springs, Miss. (N32205-18-D-4708); Amee Bay, Hanahan, S.C., (N32205-18-D-4700); Auxiliary Systems Inc., Norfolk, Va. (N32205-18-D-4701); Continental Tide Defense Systems, Reading, Pa. (N32205-18-D-4702); Custom Panel and Controls LLC, Virginia Beach, Va. (N32205-18-D-4703); Glenmount Global Solutions, Portage, Ind. (N32205-18-D-4704); Intech Marine Services, Chesapeake, Va. (N32205-18-D-4705); Mid Atlantic Eng. Tech Services, Chesapeake, Va. (N32205-18-D-4706); Powergen Controls, Pearland, Texas (N32205-18-D-4707); The GBS Group, Virginia Beach, Va. (N32205-18-D-4709); The McHenry Management Group, Chesapeake, Va. (N32205-18-D-4710); Trantecs Corp., Arlington, Va. (N32205-18-D-4711); and MSCorp, Boston, Mass. (N32205-18-D-4712), are being awarded a not-to-exceed $8,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award contract for a one year requirement to provide worldwide shipboard engineering and electrical services to the Military Sealift Command (MSC). The contract includes option years which, if exercised, would bring the total contract maximum value to $44,520,000. Work will be performed worldwide, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2018. FY 2018 Navy operations and maintenance contract funds in the amount of $44,500 are being obligated at the time of award. Funding will expire Sept. 30, 2018. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website. Fifteen offers were received. Military Sealift Command of Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity. (DOD 01/10/18)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Weaponizing CUSV for SW role

The Navy wants to add on a number of Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) anti-surface weapons that to date have only been used as a passive platform for the Littoral Combat Ship’s mine-countermeasures warfare package. On Jan. 9, Naval Sea Systems Command and Textron announced they have entered into a study agreement to weaponize the CUSV for a surface warfare (SW) role. In a statement from Textron indicated that NAVSEA had signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the company “to develop and integrate surface warfare payloads” onto the CUSV. Payloads are to include various missiles, designators, sensors, and remote weapon stations. Initially, CUSV was developed as part of the Littoral Combat Ship’s (LCS) mine-countermeasure warfare package to tow the Unmanned Influence Sweep System. UISS is designed to emit signals that would cause mines triggered by sound or electromagnetic signatures to detonate. Based on the news release, it is unclear the types of weapons the CUSV could field. The Navy will use a vertically launched AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile for its Littoral Combat Ships' surface warfare mission package. (Source: USNI News 01/09/18) Gulf Coast Note: Textron and Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, Fla., have been working on the LCS mine-countermeasures warfare package for years.

New FFG(X) estimate: $950M each

Naval Sea Systems Command confirmed Jan. 9 that each new Guided-Missile Frigate has an expected end cost of an average of $950M million, according to Regan Campbell, program manager of the frigate program office. The cost doesn’t include the first in class ship, which typically carries a higher price tag. The Navy is planning for a 20-ship order for the designated FFG(X), which was initially a step beyond the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The Navy released the final conceptual design request for proposals in November, which specified the ships will be built in U.S. shipyards and those potential contractors must start with a parent design - one that has been through production and demonstrated at-sea testing. The FFG(X) program has improvements over previous frigate designs such as shock- and blast-hardening, and structural fatigue length, she said. Campbell could not reveal which companies have submitted conceptual designs, but will be able to say what shipyard(s) would be getting an award “shortly.” (Source: Defense Daily 01/09/18) Gulf Coast Note: Austal USA shipyard of Mobile, Ala., builds the Independence variant of the LCS for the Navy.

Engine damage after overhauls

An investigative report on Auxiliary Engine Damage by The Swedish Club - a European mutual marine insurance company - indicates the majority of all engine damage to commercial vessels takes place within the first 1,000 hours following maintenance work. Fifty-five percent of casualties occur within the first 10 percent of the time of operation after overhaul. In most cases the damage occurs only a few hours after start up. The report also finds that container vessels have a significantly higher claims frequency due to the larger number of engines on those vessels. In addition, these engines have considerable output, which lead to higher repair costs compared with other vessels. (Source: Maritime Propulsion 01/08/18)