In the News
Papp delivers "State of the Coast Guard" address
On Thursday Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp delivered his State of the Coast Guard address. While the service's commandant said "the current national deficit demands change," he also said "we must sustain the momentum of the NSC and OPC acquisition programs." Most of the ships in the Coast Guard inventory now are more than 40 years old. Papp said the Navy generally mothballs its ships after 25 years. The Coast Guard’s commandant said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press that he wants many more new ships and he wants them as soon as possible. Papp said he will fight to maintain the Coast Guard’s annual budget of a little more than $10 billion. “You cannot patrol without having substantial ships,” Papp said. “We need new ships.”
The entire address can be found HERE
Navy budget request places risk on amphibious capability
As a result of the fiscal pressures being faced inside the Pentagon, the Navy has decided to place more risk on amphibious capabilities by capping its fleet of amphibious warships at 30. The overall FY13 budget request of $13.7 billion is over $1.6 billion less than what was appropriated in FY12. The FY13 request reduces the total number of vessels in the FYDP by 16, almost half of that reduction consisting of cuts to the Joint High Speed Vessel program. Over the long-term, the Navy plans to hit a total force of 285 ships by 2017, going up to 300 by 2020. But those figures fall short of the service's long-standing goal of a 313-ship fleet. Part of that drop will include a much smaller amphibious force. The Navy and Marines have said they need a fleet of 38 amphibious ships, but budget pressures forced the services to drop that number down to 33 ships. The current request caps the fleet at 30 ships.
Navy requests additional funds for new first-of-class aircraft carrier
As part of its fiscal 2013 budget request, the Navy has asked for an additional $811 million for fact-of-life cost increases related to construction of the new Navy aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford. The $811 million is being added to the Navy’s 2014 and 2015 budget requests and is due to changes in the radar system, first-of-class design work and construction overruns. The Navy is also seeking to delay construction of the next ship in the class, John F. Kennedy, by two years, moving Kennedy’s delivery to the fleet from 2020 to 2022. Ford is scheduled to be delivered in September 2015, but construction delays have put the launch date of July 2013 about 17 weeks behind schedule. The Navy still intends to procure new aircraft carriers at the pace of one every five years, and delaying Kennedy’s delivery to the fleet should not affect the Navy’s carrier levels because of an overlap period of a few years before the carrier Nimitz — the ship Kennedy will replace — is decommissioned.
Bigger Ships, Faster Growth through “Other” Canal
Post-panamax ships capable of carrying more than 9,000 20-foot equivalent units are already starting to call on U.S. east coast ports and the Panama Canal expansion will not be complete until 2014. This is because it is cheaper for carriers to move these very large container vessels from Asia through the Suez Canal than have the smaller Panamax ships that can carry less than half the containers transit the Panama Canal.
However, most of the larger east coast ports have not completed, or in some cases, started, the necessary dredging and expansion of infrastructure at these critical ports to handle these much larger vessels and increased container traffic.
International Chamber of Shipping Calls for Shipbuilding Moratorium
On Monday, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) called for a moratorium on shipbuilding as supply of ships is expected to outgrow the demand for shipping vessels. Specifically, ICS called on China, Korea and Japan to stop being “obsessive” over market share.
Sypros Polemis, Chairman of ICS, recognized that, “Even if shipyards go bankrupt, it is almost certain that their governments will step in to support them so they can continue to produce ships few people want.”