The U.S. Coast Guard today
awarded a contract of up to $10 million to SAFE Boats International of Port Orchard
, Wash., for ports and waterways response boats. Funding for the boats, which will help the service perform Homeland Security missions, was provided in the Emergency Supplemental Act, 2002. The initial order is for 18 boats with an option of procuring additional craft and essential spare parts over the next 18 months.
"The Coast Guard is currently operating the largest port security program since World War II alongside other federal, state and local agencies," said Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta
. "At this critical time in our
nation's history, this contract award will ensure that the Coast Guard has the resources to get the job done."
The response boats will be deployed to Coast Guard stations throughout the United States
and will be used by the new Coast Guard Maritime Safety
and Security Teams, which will provide specialized Homeland Security capabilities
in key economic and militarily strategic ports.
The Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSSTs) are domestic, mobile units that possess specialized training and capabilities to perform a broad spectrum of port safety and security operations. Possessing maritime
law enforcement expertise and authority with a lethal and non-lethal use-of- force capabilities, MSSTs will offer operational commanders a quick response capability that will meet the changing threat environment in our nation's harbors, ports and internal waterways. They are an important component of the Coast Guard's layered defense strategy and will be used to provide safety and
security in strategic seaports.
This sole-source contract to quickly increase the number of available patrol craft comes in the wake of the terrorist attacks and establishes a
procurement vehicle to immediately begin delivery of response boats to operational commanders. A competitive solicitation for a long-term contract
to provide ports and waterway response boat capability for a seven-year period will be released in the next few weeks.