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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Birdon Taps Master Boat Builders to Build WCC Superstructure

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 30, 2023

(Image: Birdon)

(Image: Birdon)

Birdon America announced it has selected  Coden, Ala. shipbuilder Master Boat Builders to build the superstructures for the U.S. Coast Guard's Waterways Commerce Cutter (WCC) program.

In 2022, Birdon was awarded a contract worth up to $1.187 billion to design and build up to 27 new vessels under the WCC program, including 16 River Buoy Tenders (WLR) and 11 Inland Construction Tenders (WLIC). The vessels will be constructed within a 10-year period commencing with an 18-month design finalization period.

Birdon had previously tapped Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards to build the hulls, and Master Boat Builders will now build the superstructures under a firm-fixed price (FFP), indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) subcontract.

Garrett Rice, president of Master Boat Builders, Inc., said, “We are excited to announce our partnership with Birdon America and honored to be part of the WCC program team. This is an important opportunity for our employees as it will create new sustainable jobs and additional shipbuilding capability and capacity in Coden, Ala. We are proud to play a key role in delivering the highest quality cutters to the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Rob Scott, president of Birdon America, said, “For the Waterways Commerce Cutter Program, as with all of our programs, Birdon’s approach is simple: find the best partner with the best solution for the customer. Garrett and the entire Master Boat Builders team are focused on expanding the nation’s shipbuilding capacity and creating purposeful jobs, and we are thrilled to have them on the team.”

Earlier this year, Birdon announced the first major tranche of WCC subcontract awards, as well as completion of the WCC Program Management Review (PMR).

The WCC cutters are essential to the United States’ intracoastal and inland marine transportation system, helping the Coast Guard to establish and maintain more than 28,200 inland aids to navigation (ATON).

The Coast Guard's Existing WCC vessels—many of which are over 70 years old—do not meet current readiness and technology standards and are increasingly expensive to maintain. This leads to operational delays, crew safety concerns, and does not allow the assignment of mixed gender crews.

Designed by Incat Crowther, the new cutter will provide up to 11 days sustainment for up to 19 crew members. The vessels will also be used in additional missions including search and rescue (SAR), marine safety, marine environmental protection, and ports, waterways and coastal security.

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