PANAMA CITY -- Eastern Shipbuilding Group has passed a critical first step in its multibillion-dollar contract with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Eastern on Friday completed its initial critical design review (ICDR) with the Coast Guard, having its first-draft plans for nine Coast Guard offshore patrol cutters approved on time and on budget, according to a company news release. Eastern was selected for the contract -- potentially worth more than $10 billion -- in September 2015 and has been working on more detailed plans for the cutters since.
Lisa Barnes, Eastern's special projects manager, said despite the magnitude of the project, the company was confident it would pass the ICDR with no major problems.
"There was never a fear from us because we have a terrific team, and they're working very hard on making sure that all of the milestones are reached," Barnes said Wednesday.
Reaching the milestone came after about 10 months of design work in Bay County and a week's worth of discussions and presentations this month among Eastern, the Coast Guard's Ship Design Team and the Department of Homeland Security.
Eastern now will have time to make requested changes before a final critical design review.
"I don't expect major changes," Barnes said. "I know we have many more (critical design review levels) between now and the time we actually cut steel."
Eastern is expected to begin construction of the first cutter by August 2018, with delivery in 2021.
"This major milestone for the OPC program was achieved on time and our design was found to be compliant and affordable by the Coast Guard," Eastern President Joey D'Isernia said in a news release. "Today's success could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication exhibited by the members of both the (Eastern) and USCG project teams.
"Our strong and collaborative working relationship with the USCG is the direct result of two focused groups working (toward) a common goal. The future is indeed bright for the (offshore patrol cutter) program."
Eastern's contract is for nine cutters, worth up to $2.38 billion total. If Eastern is selected to build all 25 vessels the Coast Guard ultimately plans to acquire, the work could be worth up to $10.1 billion.
--This article is written by Stephanie Nusbaum from The News Herald, Panama City, Fla. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.