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SCA Weekly Report | February 1 - 5, 2021

Shipbuilders Council of America

20 F Street NW, Suite 500

Washington, DC 20001



SCA Weekly Report | February 1 - 5, 2021





2021 SCA Winter Meeting Review


Thank you to everyone that joined us yesterday for our 2021 SCA Virtual Winter Meeting. We had a great turnout from SCA members.


We would like to give a special thank you to Richard McCreary for moderating the panels yesterday. We would also like to thank all of the panel speakers that participated yesterday:


New Vessel Construction

  • Ben Bordelon, President and CEO, Bollinger Shipyards LLC
  • Scott Weldon, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, Ingalls Shipbuilding
  • Steinar Nerbovik, President and CEO, Philly Shipyard


Ship Repair

  • Dave Baker, Vice President of Repair, General Dynamics NASSCO
  • Brad Moyer, Vice President of Business Development & Strategic Planning, BAE Systems Ship Repair
  • Tom Epley, President and CEO, MHI Ship Repair & Services Inc.
  • Lee Stokes, Vice President and General Manager, Alabama Shipyard


Vessel Owner & Operators

  • Jeff Dixon, President, TOTE Services
  • Dino Chouest, Executive Vice President, Edison Chouest Offshore
  • Court Ramsay, President & CEO, Aries Marine Corporation


We would again like to thank our sponsors for the event:

  • Jamestown
  • Bruce S. Rosenblatt & Associates
  • American Equity Underwriters
  • American Ship Repair
  • Capitol Integration
  • MCG Workforce Solutions
  • Performance Contracting, Inc.
  • Signal Mutual
  • STI Marine Firestop


We would also like to give a special thank you to Jamestown and Bruce S. Rosenblatt & Associates for being 2021 SCA Strategic Partners.


Additionally, the SCA staff presentations from the meeting can be accessed HERE.



2021 National Ship Repair Industry Conference (NSRIC) Registration Now Open


Registration for the 2021 National Ship Repair Industry Conference (NSRIC) is now open. NSRIC 2021 will take place virtually on 23 March 2021 from 1300-1600 EST.


Due to the pandemic, the in person portion of NSRIC will be deferred to 2022. However, we will continue with the NSRIC tradition of having senior Navy, Coast Guard and MSC leadership speak to the companies that make up the Ship Repair Industrial Base.


Invited Speakers include:


  • CNO, Admiral Gilday
  • VCNO, Admiral Lescher
  • VADM Galinis
  • VADM Kitchener
  • RADM Moton
  • RADM Wettlauffer
  • RADM Boubolis, USCG
  • RDML Ver Hage


This event is free to attend for SCA and SRA members.





House Armed Services Committee Announces Full Subcommittee Lineups  

This week, House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) announced the subcommittee assignments for the 117th Congress. In addition to the announcement, the committee announced its creation of two new subcommittees: one focused on intelligence and special operations, and the other dedicated to cyber issues and information technology. Among the appointments, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) were announced as the Seapower Subcommittee Chair and Ranking Member respectively, and Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) were announced as the Chair and Ranking Member respectively of the Readiness Subcommittee. Rep. Wittman was also announced as the Vice Chair Ranking Member of the entire committee.


Senate Confirms Biden’s DHS, Transportation Secretaries

This week, the Senate advanced more nominees to positions in President Biden’s cabinet.  On Tuesday, the Senate voted 86-13 to confirm Pete Buttigieg to be Transportation Secretary and 56-43 to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas to be the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The Senate Armed Services Committee also advanced the nomination of Kathleen Hicks to be Deputy Defense Secretary. 




Geurts Appointed as Navy Undersecretary

James “Hondo” Geurts, who served as the Navy’s acquisition chief for more than three years, will return to the Department of the Navy leadership team to fill in as the department’s number-two civilian, the service announced on Thursday. Geurts will be performing the duties of undersecretary of the Navy. He was sworn in as assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition (ASN RDA) in December 2017 and stepped down Jan. 20 when the Biden administration was sworn in.


After stepping down, though, he resumed serving as a senior executive service (SES) employee in the Navy. With nearly 34 years of uniformed and civilian service in the Defense Department, he was among the senior-most employees who could be chosen to perform the duties undersecretary until the Biden administration selects its picks for service-level leaders. While performing the duties of the undersecretary of the Navy, Geurts will not only be the deputy and principal assistant to the SECNAV but also the chief operating officer and chief management officer for the Department of the Navy. Additionally, he will oversee intelligence activities, intelligence-related activities, special access programs, critical infrastructure, and sensitive activities within the department.


Acting SECNAV: Navy Shipbuilding Faces Review from Incoming Biden Officials

Speaking at the National Defense Industrial Association’s virtual Expeditionary Warfare conference on Tuesday, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker said he expects to have a clearer understanding of the Biden administration’s shipbuilding plans once administration officials like the deputy defense secretary, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the OMB deputy director are confirmed to their posts. The Senate confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last month to lead the Pentagon and held a confirmation hearing on Tuesday for Austin’s designated deputy, Kathleen Hicks. Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as the OMB director, is slated to appear next week in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee as part of the nomination process. Biden chose Shalanda Young, the Democrat staff director for the House Appropriations Committee, to serve as the OMB deputy director.




Japan Expresses Concern to UK over New Chinese Maritime Law

Japan's foreign minister and defense minister expressed strong concern to their British counterparts on Wednesday over a new Chinese maritime law that took effect two days earlier. Japan sees China's escalating influence and military activity in the region as a security threat and has been stepping up defense cooperation with the U.S., Australia, Southeast Asian countries, as well as Britain.


The new Chinese Coast Guard Law, which increases the possibility of clashes with regional rivals, empowers the force to "take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea." It also authorizes the coast guard to demolish other countries' structures built on areas claimed by China and to seize or order foreign vessels illegally entering China's territorial waters to leave.




JONES ACT UPDATE: Senate Consideration of Budget Resolution

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) was expected to introduce a Jones Act repeal amendment last night as the Senate considered the budget resolution. However, while Sen. Lee offered several amendments throughout the night, he did not offer his Jones Act amendment. 




U.S. to Restart Permitting for Major Offshore Wind Project  

The Biden administration said on Wednesday it would restart permitting for the first major U.S. offshore wind farm, reversing a Trump administration decision that canceled the process late last year. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said in a statement it would resume environmental review of the Vineyard Wind project as part of the administration’s broad plan to speed renewable energy development on federal lands and waters. “BOEM is committed to conducting a robust and timely review of the proposed project,” Director Amanda Lefton said in the statement.





FMC Commissioners Write Biden for Support Vaccinating Maritime Workers

Two commissioners from the Federal Maritime Commission added their voices to the calls to prioritize the nation’s maritime workforce to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Commissioners Carl Bentzel and Daniel Maffei wrote to President Biden recommending his administration emphasize the important role the maritime industry plays in maintaining the nation’s supply chain. The letter to President Biden follows a similar initiative in December with a letter to the Maritime Administration. In their letter, the FMC commissioners highlight an upward trend in the number of cases of COVID-19 reported in the maritime sector.


New NOAA Ocean Exploration Ship to be Based in Rhode Island

Newport, R.I., has been chosen as the future homeport for a new NOAA oceanographic research vessel being built for the agency. Discoverer will be a state-of-the-art ship that operates around the nation and the world to study and explore the ocean. When commissioned, Discoverer will replace the 32-year-old NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as the only federal vessel dedicated to ocean exploration.


Significant Cruise Business Activity Might Be a Year Away

The cruise industry continues to face significant obstacles to resuming service a year after it was forced to suspend operations as the coronavirus grew into a global pandemic. Despite the promise of the vaccines and the welcome news this week that the number of cases of the virus is in decline across the United States, forecasts are that it might be at least a year before the industry has restored a meaningful portion of its operations.


Speaking before a state committee on transportation, Michael Rubin, the vice president of governmental affairs for the Florida Ports Council said that the cruise lines are still working to meet a list of “onerous requirements” put forth under the framework to restore cruising from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rubin forecasted that some cruise ships might return on a limited basis, with capacity restricted to half capacity in the summer of 2021, but that it could be a year or more until Florida’s cruise industry was restored.



If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paula Zorensky on the SCA staff.