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SCA Weekly Report | March 15 - 19, 2021

Shipbuilders Council of America

20 F Street NW, Suite 500

Washington, DC 20001



SCA Weekly Report | March 15 - 19, 2021





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


There is still time to register for NSRIC 2021.


Registration for the 2021 National Ship Repair Industry Conference (NSRIC) is still 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.


Confirmed Speakers Include:


  • A message from CNO Gilday
  • VADM Galinis
  • VADM Kitchener
  • RADM Wettlauffer
  • RDML Moore, USCG
  • RDML Ver Hage


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


The meeting is sponsored by:





Progressive Lawmakers Seek Cuts to Defense Budget  

This week, dozens of House Democrats signed on to a letter pushing for steep cuts to defense spending in fiscal 2022. The letter, led by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), was signed by 50 House Democratic lawmakers and pushes President Biden to outline a “significantly reduced Pentagon topline” in his FY22 budget submission. The Democratic debate over defense spending levels adds to an uncertain outlook for federal discretionary funding levels next year. For the last decade, lawmakers have negotiated top-line defense and nondefense levels via increases to budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25). Those caps are no longer in place for fiscal 2022, which means there’s no need to secure a bipartisan deal to set spending levels ahead of time in order to avert spending cuts known as sequestration. Spending bills ultimately will need Republican support because it takes 60 votes in the Senate to end debate on an appropriations bill, so lawmakers eventually will need to strike a bipartisan deal.


Courtney, Gallagher Call on Biden to Name SECNAV

Congressional seapower leaders are calling for the Biden administration to name a Navy secretary as soon as possible as the country positions itself to counter China. House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee Chairman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a member of the subcommittee, called on Biden to appoint a Navy secretary as soon as possible. A Navy secretary will help the service navigate the budget process, which Courtney said would be compressed this year with the budget submission in late April or early May. 




Navy Releases Unmanned Systems Plan; Lawmakers Question Who Will Shepherd Unmanned Fleet

With an eye on China's huge naval fleet, the future of technology and possible flat defense budgets, the Navy and Marine Corps unveiled a plan this week to expeditiously incorporate unmanned systems into the aviation, surface and subsurface fleets to keep up with the dynamic security landscape. The Navy defended the plan to the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday. 


The framework was met with skepticism from lawmakers who shared concerns over the plan's cost-effectiveness, measures of accountability and general lack of detail. The plan was presented to Congress by Jay Stefany, the acting assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition; Vice Adm. James Kilby, the deputy chief of naval operations for warfighting capabilities and requirements; and Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, the commanding general at Marine Corps Combat Development Command.


"There is no doubt that our future relies on our ability to expeditiously develop unmanned autonomous vehicles," said subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA). "But I will not support a misguided acquisition program that wastes taxpayers' resources in an effort to deliver this vision."


Neither the campaign plan nor the service officials' testimony submitted on Thursday discussed the budget the Navy will need for its unmanned efforts.


Next month, the U.S. Pacific Fleet will execute a series of events called an Integrated Fleet Battle Problem. The events will focus on unmanned contributions to the maritime fight. The Navy will look to scale its unmanned systems by using a "build a little, test a little, learn a lot," approach, according to the document. The campaign framework notes the service will incorporate unmanned systems into its war games and its modeling and simulations.




U.S. Refiners Scale Back on Hiring Ships

U.S. refiners are scaling back on hiring ships for longer periods to save on costs in yet another sign of uncertainty over when global oil demand will return to pre-COVID levels. The global rollout of coronavirus vaccines and the expectation that government-offered stimulus packages will boost the world economy has raised expectations of a recovery in oil consumption. But fuel demand remains sluggish, keeping oil refiners under pressure and looking for ways to limit further losses. The International Energy Agency, for example, does not expect oil demand to catch up with supply until about the third quarter.





Crowley and ESVAGT to Develop Jones Act Vessel for Offshore Wind

Earlier this week, Crowley and Danish shipping company, ESVAGT, announced plans to establish a joint venture to bolster purpose-built, Jones Act vessel availability in support of the emerging offshore wind energy market in the USA. Consistent with the requirements of the Act, Crowley will own and operate the Service Operation Vessels (SOVs), manned by its US mariners, while Crowley and ESVAGT will share in the economics of the venture.


American Coastal and River Cruising is Resuming

The American cruise industry has resumed operations one year after the global cruise industry went into shutdown due to the coronavirus. Two of the small ship operators, American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company, quietly started their first cruises as the companies begin to carefully ramp up operations in anticipation of the summer cruise season. Unlike the large, international cruise companies that are waiting on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide additional guidance on its framework for the resumption of cruising, the American cruise lines operate ships with passenger capacities below the 250 person threshold established by the CDC.


Shipping Congestion at Los Angeles Ports Starts Easing

Shipping congestion outside the biggest U.S. gateway for imports from Asia showed signs of easing over the past week as dockworkers made progress by reducing a significant backlog that peaked at 40 vessels six weeks ago. 22 container ships were waiting to offload at the adjacent ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as of Sunday, compared with 29 a week earlier. 


Salvors Complete Fourth Cut Through Golden Ray's Hull

The salvage crew for the Golden Ray wreck removal has completed the fourth cut through the vessel's hull, fully separating the second section aft of the bow. The section will be loaded out on a deck barge and towed to a recycling yard in Louisiana.



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