WASHINGTON, DC – Dr. Neal Dunn (FL-02) led a bipartisan congressional visit to Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) in Panama City, Florida over the weekend. Along with Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Dr. Dunn toured the ESG facilities, stressing the importance of the Offshore Patrol Cutter Program. Both Reps. Rouzer and Garamendi serve on the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, which authorizes and oversees the Offshore Patrol Cutters Program. ESG is currently under contract to develop the first tranche of Offshore Patrol Cutters for the United States Coast Guard and needs full funding to remain on schedule. ESG employs a 1,600-person workforce and has built 136 ships since 2002.
“These ships will play a vital role in our national security over the next 40 years. Eastern Shipbuilding is one of the most productive and cost-effective shipyards in the United States. It is dedicated to producing a next-generation ship that will complement the Coast Guard’s current and future fleet,” said Dr. Dunn. “The new Offshore Patrol Cutters will feature increased range and endurance, more powerful weapons, a larger flight deck, and an improved communications and electronics suite – improvements that the Coast Guard needs to accomplish its mission.”
Last month, Dr. Dunn testified in front of the House Appropriations Committee, urging his colleagues to fully fund the Offshore Patrol Cutter Program. He also submitted a formal request to the House Appropriations Committee on the issue. Dr. Dunn also wrote to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, urging him to ensure the program was fully funded.