The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) yesterday issued a bid protest decision that upheld the U.S. Coast Guard’s award of the Sentinel-class Patrol Boat to Bollinger Shipyards, Inc.
GAO provides a forum for bidders and offerors seeking federal government contracts who believe that “a contract has been, or is about to be, awarded improperly or illegally or that they have been unfairly denied a contract or an opportunity to compete for a contract”. Marinette Marine Corporation filed a protest with GAO on October 7, 2008 contesting the Coast Guard’s decision to award the Sentinel-class Patrol Boat contract to Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. After consideration of the protest, on January 12, 2009, GAO issued a ruling that Marinette Marine Corporation’s bid protest on the award had been denied.
“We are of course very pleased with GAO’s decision. The Coast Guard had been confident, especially given the acquisition reforms our agency has put in place and with the rigor and discipline followed throughout the process for this patrol boat contract award, that GAO would ultimately uphold the Coast Guard’s decision. I appreciate the role that GAO plays in maintaining the transparency and equity of the federal procurement process and now that GAO has issued its decision, we can proceed with this critically important Coast Guard acquisition program,” stated Rear Adm. Gary Blore, Assistant Commandant for Acquisition.
With the release of this decision, the Coast Guard and Bollinger will resume working together on this project. The 153-foot Sentinel-class patrol boat will replace the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats, which have reached the end of their 20-year service lives. This contract award is valued at $88 million. If all options are exercised, the Coast Guard could order as many as 34 cutters on this contract, for a total approximate contract value of $1.5 billion.
Bollinger Shipyards Inc., based in Lockport, La., with facilities in south Louisiana and Texas, has been producing ships for over 60 years. The Sentinel will be constructed at their facility in Lockport, La.
For more information about the Fast Response Cutter project, visit: http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/FRC.
Please note: The GAO decision was issued under the Protective Order GAO issued in connection with the case, so the decision cannot be made public. The Coast Guard anticipates that a redacted version of the decision will be published by GAO.