April 16, 2007
Oberstar calls for criminal investigation of Deepwater conversions
At 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, the full House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold an oversight hearing on failures to comply with contract requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard's troubled Deepwater Program.
It is likely to be a lively one.
This hearing will focus on the results of an in-depth investigation conducted by the Oversight and Investigations staff of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on the 110/123-foot patrol boat conversion undertaken as part of the Deepwater Program. The investigation assessed how the multi-million dollar extension of 110-foot patrol boats to 123-foot patrol boats left eight legacy cutters unseaworthy.
The Committee's investigation uncovered facts previously undisclosed in other investigations and has raised serious concerns about contractor compliance with the Deepwater Program contract and about the ability of other Deepwater acquisitions to yield reliable assets.
In a statement issued last week, Rep. James L. Oberstar (Minn.), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said " it is time to salvage equipment and parts from the 123-foot patrol boats and begin a civil and criminal investigation into how the Federal Government and the American taxpayers were sold a boat that is unsafe...It is time for the Department of Justice to step up and hold those who perpetuated this fraud accountable."