Eastern Shipbuilding Continues its Run of Post-Hurricane Deliveries
Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) has rebounded quickly from the effects of Hurricane Michael, which passed through the Florida Panhandle with devastating effects last October, and it has continued to deliver vessels for its commercial clients. This week, ESG announced that it has delivered the towboat Brian Boudreax to Florida Marine Transporters, the 68th vessel in its popular class of 90’x 32’x 10’ inland towboats - and the first in the class delivered with a USCG Subchapter M certificate.
Florida Marine Transporters has ordered four of these towboats. The design originally began with a twenty-five vessel contract, with deliveries starting in 2006. It has expanded to become the largest single owner, single shipbuilder, single design towboat series in United States history.
Eastern Shipbuilding Group also holds the construction contract for the new Staten Island Ferries - a $300 million project that ranks among the largest ferry orders in recent years - and the contract for the U.S. Coast Guard's new Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) series, the largest procurement contract in Coast Guard history. Despite hurricane damage, Eastern cut the first steel for the first cutter in the series, the USCGC Argus, in early January.
ESG is looking to renegotiate the price of the Offshore Patrol Cutter due to the rising cost of labor and the lingering effects of the hurricane. However, the terms of the agreement do not contain a mechanism for altering the bid. Florida's congressional delegation is currently seeking relief for ESG through legislation, and Congress' disaster relief bill contains language that would let ESG reopen talks with the USCG.
"We want to make sure that [the OPC] project stays on target and continues to feed jobs because Northwest Florida desperately needs those jobs to recover," said Rubio in a recent video message. "We’re very hopeful. Cautiously optimistic, that next week can be a very good week.”