Ship builder praises Pacific security plan

The announcement that the U.S. Coast Guard is studying the possibility of stationing a fast response vessel in American Samoa has won praise from a leader in America’s shipbuilding industry 

A feasibility study will determine whether or not to deploy a ‘cutter’ style vessel in American Samoa that would most likely work between the two Samoan islands groups.

In an October 26 statement, Ben Bordelon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bollinger Shipyards and chairman of the Shipbuilders Council of America said the company stands ready to build the vessel .

“Should the proposed feasibility study demonstrate a need for additional Fast Response Cutters [F.R.C.], Bollinger Shipyards and the maritime defence industrial base stand ready to construct and deliver the high-quality and high-endurance vessels necessary to carry out and perform the mission at hand,” Mr. Bordeon said in the statement. 

The Bollinger company is based in Lockport, Louisiana. The company has built 163 vessels for the Coast Guard and 40 of those vessels are fast response vessels. 

Mr. Bordeon said the vessels would “challenge Chinese aggression, maintain the United States’ commitment to peace and prosperity, and ensure that America remains the partner of choice in the region.”

The feasibility study was announced on Saturday during a White House press conference call with reporters by Ambassador Robert O’Brien, U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor.

The U.S. Coast Guard is currently conducting an up to $5 million study with the intention of basing one of its most capable modern fast response cutters in American Samoa, said O’Brien.

“Its conditions of appropriations are favourable. We will make infrastructure investments in American Samoa to make this possible. Our new fast response cutter will enhance the Coast Guard’s footprint in the island and its ability to patrol, surveille and protect as well as enforce U.S. laws,” he said.

The capability will allow the U.S. to expand and the opportunity to partner with like-minded nations of the region such as Western Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, said O’Brien.

“In an era of increased Chinese aggression this support has never been more important and having a cutter located in the heart of the South Pacific in American Samoa will benefit the entire region,” he said.

In August of 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WP 1126) participated in Operation Aiga to conduct fisheries law enforcement and strengthen partnerships in American Samoa and Samoa.


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