Navy Shipbuilding: U.S. GAO on Getting Things Right

MarineLink.com
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
LCS Sea Trial: Image courtesy of USN

A recent report US Government Audit Office (GAO) report, mandated by the House, discussed amongst other issues:  (1) quality problems in constructing recently delivered ships and Navy actions to improve quality and (2) key practices employed by leading commercial ship buyers and shipbuilders to ensure quality and how these compared with Navy practices. Excerpts from the report follow:

What GAO Found

The Navy has experienced significant quality problems with several ship classes over the past several years. It has focused on reducing the number of serious deficiencies at the time of delivery, and GAO's analysis shows that the number of deficiencies--particularly "starred" deficiencies designated as the most serious for operational or safety reasons--has generally dropped.

Nonetheless, the Navy continues to accept ships with large numbers of open deficiencies. Accepting ships with large numbers of uncorrected deficiencies is a standard practice and GAO found that there are varying interpretations of Navy policy with regard to when the defects should be resolved.

In 2009, the Navy organization that oversees ship construction launched the Back to Basics initiative to improve Navy oversight of ship construction. However, a key output of the initiative promoting consistent and adequate quality requirements in Navy contracts has yet to be implemented.

Although the environment in which leading commercial ship buyers and builders operate differs in many ways from the Navy's, some commercial practices aimed at helping to ensure that ships are delivered with a minimum number of deficiencies may be informative for the Navy.

Throughout the course of commercial shipbuilding projects, significant numbers of quality defects and instances of non-conforming work are identified. However, leading commercial ship buyers and shipbuilders make great efforts to ensure that these issues are resolved prior to delivery. Further, commercial ship buyers establish clear lines of accountability and hold their personnel responsible for ensuring the shipbuilder delivers a quality vessel.

While commercial ship buyers focus on regularly witnessing in-process work through roaming patrols and impromptu inspections, Navy processes at the shipyards place less emphasis on in-process work. Moreover, leading commercial shipbuilders have strong quality management processes that track quality problems to the worker or supervisor level. Navy shipbuilding contractors have historically experienced difficulties in holding production workers and supervisors accountable for their work, but some of the shipyards reported they are making progress on increasing worker accountability.

What GAO Recommends
To improve the construction quality of ships delivered to the Navy, GAO is recommending, among other things, that the Navy clarify policy on when deficiencies should be addressed, provide guidance on contract quality requirements, and assess applicability of certain commercial practices to Navy shipbuilding.

DOD agreed with two recommendations and partially agreed with three, stating for example that current policy is adequate but that the Navy would monitor deficiency trends. GAO believes that the recommendations remain valid as discussed in the report.

For more information, contact Michele Mackin at (202) 512-4841 or mackinm@gao.gov

Maritime Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Technology

Davie Building LNG-powered Ferries

Canadian shipbuilder Davie held a keel laying ceremony for MV Armand-Imbeau II, marking the beginning of the hull assembly for this first of two sisterships under

Keppel FELS to Deliver 100th Jackup Rig

Keppel FELS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) is on track to deliver PV Drilling VI, a KFELS B Class jackup rig, to PV Drilling Overseas (PVDO),

Brookings Institution Hosting Panels on LNG Marine Fuel

The Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, will host a two-panel discussion on the use of LNG as a marine fuel on Tuesday, March 3, the organization announced today.

Contracts

Davie Building LNG-powered Ferries

Canadian shipbuilder Davie held a keel laying ceremony for MV Armand-Imbeau II, marking the beginning of the hull assembly for this first of two sisterships under

Lithuania Looks to U.S. for Gas

Lithuanian liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer Litgas has signed a preliminary agreement with a U.S. supplier, looking to lessen the Baltic nation's dependence on Russia.

Petrobras Denies Hiring JPMorgan for License Sales

Petróleo Brasileiro SA denied on Friday that it has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to handle the sale of oil exploration licenses in deep-sea areas off the coast this year.

Shipbuilding

Ferus Smit to Launch Newbuild Bulker

Ferus Smit will launch newbuild bulk carrier Arklow Breeze on Friday, March 20 at Westerbroek.   Arklow Breeze is the sixth and last vessel of a series to be

Damen ASD 2810 Hybrid Tug Delivered to Multraship

Multraship took delivery of a Damen ASD 2810 Hybrid tug vessel, built at Damen Shipyards Galaţi, in Romania. The delivery is part of Multraship’s fleet expansion program,

HHI to Add Massive Heavy Lift Vessel

Hyundai Heavy Industries to add 10,000 ton heavy lift vessel to its offshore facility-building infrastructure legion   Shipbuilder and offshore facilities contractor Hyundai Heavy Industries Co.

Navy

Somali Pirates Release Long-held Hostages

Somali pirates have freed four Thai nationals seized from a fishing vessel at sea in 2010, ending the longest-running hostage drama in the Horn of Africa state, the United Nations said on Friday.

US, Chinese Navies Conduct Joint Exercise

A U.S. Navy littoral combat ship and a Chinese Navy frigate conducted a joint training exercise in the South China Sea.   The U.S. Navy littoral combat ship USS

MCPON Stevens Delivers Congressional Testimony

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(AW/NAC) Michael Stevens testified before Congress Feb. 25. Stevens appeared before the House and Armed Services

Government Update

LA, Long Beach Ports Cooperation Approved

Federal regulators approve expanded working pact for Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles to cooperate on congestion relief   The ports of Long Beach and

Mexico Approves 5 Shallow Water Areas in Round One Oil Tender

Mexico has approved the terms for five shallow water areas containing around 355 million barrels of oil equivalent as part of its Round One tender to open up the country's oil fields,

Dredging Project to Protect Virginia Shoreline

Outer Continental Shelf sand will protect infrastructure, restore dunes and habitat   The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Naval Air Station Oceana at Dam Neck,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2939 sec (3 req/sec)