May 02 2013
Sun Herald, Biloxi
By Kate Magandy
PASCAGOULA -- Huntington Ingalls Industries announced Wednesday, shortly before the company's stockholder meeting in Pascagoula, that the U.S. Coast Guard has awarded the shipbuilder a $487 million contract to build a sixth cutter, the Munro (WMSL 755).
The Pascagoula shipyard has already delivered three NSC cutters and is scheduled to launch a fourth this summer, with the christening set for October. A fifth, the James, is set for a keel-laying on May 17.
The sixth cutter is named for Douglas A. Munro of South Cle Elum, Wash., a signalman first class of the U.S. Coast Guard.
He died on Guadalcanal Sept. 27, 1942, after succeeding in his assignment, for which he volunteered, to evacuate a detachment of Marines from a point where enemy opposition developed beyond anticipated dimensions.
Munro's final words were "Did they get off?"
The NSC cutters are 418 feet long with a 54-foot beam, displacing 4,500 tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 110.
"Our shipbuilders continue to execute well on this contract and the design/build plan is at a mature stage," said Jim French, Ingalls, NSC program manager.
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., who serves on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Coast Guard, said this contract allows South Mississippi workers to carry on "their good work of producing the best ships available to serve our national and homeland security interests."
"I also appreciate that this award keeps the Coast Guard's modernization plans on track and gives our Mississippi Gulf Coast more economic growth and certainty," he said.
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who serves on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that oversees the Coast Guard, said the new contract "is a testament to the pride and professionalism of Mississippi's shipbuilders who construct these vessels."
House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., said the cutters "are some of the most direct contributions Mississippi makes in support of our nation's homeland security." Pascagoula is the only place they are produced, he said.