Marine Log

December 9, 2006

"Structural flaws" in first National Security Cutter

According to a front page story in today's New York Times, mounting problems with the Coast Guard's Deepwater program now include "structural flaws" in the first National Security Cutter (the recently-christened Bertholf).

"The Coast Guard has decided to make structural modifications to the vessel and require design changes for the third cutter. Work is too far along to change course on the second cutter," according to the New York Times report, which also deals with the many other problems, delays and cost increases that have beset the Deepwater program.

The New York Times says the Coast Guard, is renegotiating its contract with Integrated Coast Guard Systems (the Lockheed- Northrop Grumman joint venture that is managing the program) "to ensure that the companies honor a commitment to open the work to competition and deliver what they promise."

It reports that Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen and other Coast Guard officials say the Coast Guard’s engineers are being given more power to supervise the work. Admiral Allen is also creating a division to oversee the procurement and maintenance of its ships and airplanes. “That is the main gap that needs to be closed,” he is reported as saying.

The New York Times is not the only major newspaper to publish a sharply critical appraisal of the Deepwater program. The Washington Post. too, has been investigating. You can read that story here.