Coast Guard To Idle 8 Cutters After $100 Million Renovation

November 30th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Coast Guard To Idle 8 Cutters After $100 Million Renovation

New York Times
November 30, 2006
By Eric Lipton
WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 — After spending $100 million to renovate eight of its workhorse cutters, the Coast Guard will announce Thursday that it is suspending the use of the Florida-based patrol boats because of chronic hull cracking and engine problems.
The decision is a setback for the Coast Guard and its $24 billion modernization program, called Deepwater, which is replacing or rebuilding most of its large cutters, airplanes and helicopters.
The eight cutters, which had extensive hull repairs and were equipped with upgraded electronics and a 13-foot extension to make room for an automated rear-boat launch, have been a source of trouble for the Coast Guard since they came out of the repair yard in 2004.
The hulls developed cracks, but efforts to stabilize the boats with steel strips and to limit their use in heavy seas did not prevent the cracks.
“These are never decisions that are easy to do, never decisions that you want to make,” said Thad Allen, the Coast Guard commandant, in an interview on Wednesday, as he prepared to fly to Key West, Fla., where the cutters are based, to notify crews.
The ships, which average about 17 years old, respond to emergency calls and patrol the waters.
The Coast Guard has about 250 cutters and nearly 200 aircraft around the country. It is considering doubling up crews on some cutters or bringing in other agency ships, like buoy tenders, to help provide coverage in the waters around southern Florida.
No final decision has been made on the fate of the troubled ships, which each have 16-member crews.
Coast Guard officials said it had not been decided who should be held responsible for the problems.
The work was overseen by Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, and performed by their subcontractor, Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, La.

Similar Topics
understanding between china and india
Army Vows to Cut Guard Role
Navy or Coast Guard
Norwegian Coast Guard arrests two Spanish trawlers
why are we wasting time in iraq