PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - VT Halter Marine, Inc. was selected by the U.S. Coast Guard to design and build the next generation of heavy polar icebreakers. The new Polar Security Cutter (PCS) will join the Coast Guard’s icebreaker fleet.
The contract, initially valued at $745.9 million, is expected to bring millions of dollars and up to 450 new jobs to the shipyard.
“I’m very pleased VT Halter and its shipbuilders won the selection to lead the charge in ongoing Homeland Security efforts to strengthen the Coast Guard icebreaker fleet and ensure U.S. sovereignty in the Arctic,” said U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.
According to reports, PCSs are needed for the U.S. to maintain defense readiness in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, secure ports and national security activities.
“The Coast Guard’s heavy polar icebreakers are a critical part of our nation’s ability to protect our interests in the polar regions,” said U.S. Senator Roger Wicker.
Many officials have expressed a need for the icebreakers.
“As a member of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I can tell you the need for this ship has been made clear through countless hearings and briefings. I have no doubt that VT Halter is the right shipyard to provide the best possible ship to our Coast Guard.” said Congressman Steven Palazzo.
The initial $745.9 million award will support VT Halter’s design of the PSC class, as well as materials and construction for the first PSC. But the contract also includes options for two additional PSCs to be built. In all, the total contract is valued at $1.9 billion if all options are exercised.