PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Eastern Shipbuilding Group beat out multiple construction companies for a contract with the U.S. Coast Guard for new offshore patrol cutters.
But, the aftermath of Hurricane Michael is complicating the process. Eastern Shipbuilding is under contract to deliver up to 25 offshore patrol cutters.
“The problem is that since they got the contract, something happened that no one could have foreseen in the contract and that’s a hurricane,” said Senator Marco Rubio. “Its raised the costs of living so they have had to raise labor prices in order to attract people because there is less housing, it’s more expensive.”
On Wednesday a new bill allowing for renegotiation on this multi-billion dollar contract was passed by the Senate committee on commerce, science and transportation. It will allow the coast guard flexibility to adjust the OCP contract.
“All this does is it allows that to be taken into account in adjusting to this contract, otherwise this contract may not finish on time and the Coast Guard is going to pay the price,” Rubio said.
This is the Coast Guard’s highest priority investment program.
Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen says this will have a positive impact on the community.
“This is a good thing for the city of Panama City and Bay County that the federal government and our elected officials at the federal level, the senators, are leading the charge to help our local businesses,” McQueen said.
Hundreds of new jobs are expected to be created from Coast Guard cutter project.