“If drug cartels can ship up to 10 tons of cocaine in a semi-submersible, they can clearly ship or rent space to a terrorist organization for a weapon of mass destruction or a high-profile terrorist.”
Adm. James Stavridis
Commander, U.S. Southern Command
On the dangers posed by the growing number and sophistication of mini-submarines.
“All I know is, there is water where it didn’t used to be, and
I’m responsible for dealing with that. I think we’re at a crisis
point on making a decision.”
Adm. Thad W. Allen
Commandant of the Coast Guard
On the need for increased oversight of the Arctic and new ships for the Coast
Guard to patrol and safeguard Arctic waters.
New York Times
RRF are owned by the Maritime
Administration, crewed by civilian
Merchant Mariners and managed by
commercial U.S. companies.
USCG Taps Maersk
For Polar Star Study
The Coast Guard has a signed a contract with Maersk Line Ltd. to study
the 399-foot Polar Star icebreaker
that has been in “caretaker” status
since June 2006. Homeported in
Seattle, the heavy icebreaker’s crew
has been keeping the ship ready for
a possible return to the ice.
“The contract is for a lay-up, activation and deactivation study,” said
B.J. Talley, Maersk marketing and
communications general manager.
Valued at $140,000, the contract
lasts 150 days from the award date
of Aug. 22. Maersk will have six to
eight people working on the project, which is expected to start next
month. Maersk will give its findings
to the Coast Guard Maintenance
and Logistics Command Pacific
office, Oakland, Calif.
Talley said the study primarily
will focus on hull and mechanical
work as Maersk looks at how the
Coast Guard should proceed with
the ship. He said the firm will offer
an opinion on what the Coast
Guard may want to consider,
The Coast Guard’s other heavy
icebreaker, Polar Sea, is currently
pier-side at Todd Pacific Shipyards
in Seattle for routine maintenance
work. Healy, the newest and most
technologically advanced polar icebreaker, has been conducting bottom mapping as part of the service’s
summer mission in the Arctic.
The Coast Guard estimates it
would cost around $400 million
per ship to fix both heavy icebreakers to extend their service life
another 25 years. A new ship
would cost between $800 million
and $925 million.
“The [current] maintenance
study is not intended to start the
process of placing Polar Star back in
an operational status, but to determine what maintenance is needed to
prepare Polar Star indefinitely in an
18-month recall status,” the Coast
Guard said in a statement.
Aerial Tanker Decision
Punted to the ‘Next Team’
Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced in September that he will
punt the high-stakes contest to
provide Air Force aerial refueling
tankers to the next administration.
In a statement explaining his
decision, Gates said the $35 billion
deal had become too “complex and
emotional,” making it impossible to
award the contract by the end of the
year, as he had hoped.
“It has now become clear that the
solicitation and award process cannot
be accomplished by January,” Gates
said. “Thus, I believe that rather than
hand the next administration an
incomplete and possibly contested
process, we should cleanly defer this
procurement to the next team.”
The most recent blow to the
tanker program, which has been
mired in controversy for the last several years, came this summer when
the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) concluded that the Air
Force had made significant errors in
its award to a team led by Northrop
Grumman and EADS, the European
parent company of Airbus.
GAO conducted its review following a formal protest filed by
Boeing, the losing bidder. In light of
the GAO review, Gates announced
in July that he would reopen competition on the program.
Gates’ news on the cancellation
was welcomed by Boeing officials,
who have said they wanted an additional six months to revise their bid.
A spokesman for Northrop
Grumman, however, said the company was “extremely disappointed”
and warned that, with the delay, “it
is conceivable that our warfighters
will be forced to fly tankers as old as
80 years of age.” ■
Reporting by Seapower Correspondent
Megan Scully. Managing Editor Richard
R. Burgess, Associate Editor Matt
Hilburn and Assistant Editor John C.
Marcario contributed to this report.