The US Army Corps
of Engineers Division Office in Mobile, Alabama has
awarded a dredging contract at Pascagoula, Mississippi to Bean Dredging L.L.C. of New
Orleans. The award serves as a sharp rebuttal to Mike Hooks
, Inc., a competing dredger, which had previously filed a protest challenging the award prematurely and without any substantial factual basis.
The Hooks protest, which was filed on October 21, 2003, essentially challenged the US Coast Guard’s determination that the dredge MERIDIAN, which Bean Dredging proposed
to use on the Pascagoula project, qualifies for a coastwise endorsement based on the citizenship of its owners. The award represents a rejection of this frivolous challenge that has already caused a six week delay in the execution of the project. Bean Dredging L.L.C. was awarded the $5.5 million contract on December 29, 2003 over the bids of Hooks and others, and subsequently received a notice to proceed so that it can commence work on the project immediately. Jim Bean, CEO of Bean Dredging L.L.C., said that the Corps decision will allow “important maintenance dredging in the Pascagoula and Bayou Casotte Channels area to finally begin and should serve notice to those who intend to impede both competition and the prompt completion of projects that the Corps will not buy in to their gamesmanship.”