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A Florida congressman is accusing a trusted Navy contractor of having shady connections with China and is calling on the homeland security secretary to investigate, as the war over a top US Coast Guard shipbuilding program escalates.

The contractor in question is Austal USA, the US-based arm of the eponymous Australia-based company, and the contract is the Offshore Patrol Cutter, a $3.3 billion shipbuilding program to build one of the service’s top acquisition priorities.

At issue is a 2016 deal Austal made with the China-based Jianglong Shipbuilding, which specializes in tourist, leisure and law enforcement boats, according to a letter Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Dunn’s office provided a copy of the Aug. 2 letter to Breaking Defense.

Dunn’s letter acknowledges the deal was effectively ended in 2021 when Austal sold its stake in the joint venture the companies created. Still though, Dunn says, the threat to national security was legitimate.

“I believe the threat that proprietary U.S. national security information may have been acquired by the Chinese through this partnership is high,” Dunn writes, without elaborating further on what may have been stolen. However, it is worth noting that the US Navy, which relies heavily on Austal USA, has continued doing work with the company despite that deal, indicating the potential risk was likely low.