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Marine Log

November 20, 2006

Coast Guard moves to fill FRC gap

The Coast Guard is scrambling to get a new Fast Response Cutter into service as soon as practicable.

Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), a joint venture headed by Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to administer the Deepwater recapitalization program, is managing the process to decide on a design for what is now called the Fast Response Cutter-B (FRC-B).

FRC-A, of course, is the Northrop Grumman composite hull design vessel that has hit problems that led to its critical design review being deferred earlier this year.

The Coast Guard says a business-case analysis will be completed for the FRC-A early next year "to determine the road ahead for its design."

Meanwhile, a working group has been assessing the suitability of designs in operational service to procure a proven patrol boat (FRC-B) as an interim solution. A request for information (RFI) closed last May and generated 27 design submittals from 19 vendors. An in-depth review and validation of their design characteristics has been completed, and on November 14 the Coast Guard issued a Broad Industry Announcement, saying that it is seeking "a service-proven Parent Craft design that has been built in the United States or can be built in the U.S."

Steel, aluminum and composite-construction designs will be considered.

Response to the Broad Industry Announcement and registration on the ICGS website will be used to identify and invite potential suppliers to submit detailed bids. The deadline for Interested bidders to register the intent to bid is by 5:00 pm CST on November 28, 2006. Interested bidders will be provided the complete Request for Proposal package within one week following the close of the call for interested bidders. More detailed information and a supplier registration form are available online at: http://www.teamdeepwater.com

In September, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control ruled in September that Vane Line's proposal would violate a 1971 ban on new bulk transfer operations in the protected Coastal Zone.

However, the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board ruled that the lightering business had existed before the 1971 law took effect and that tankers and oil refineries have a right to continue using such services--regardless of the operator.

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