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GAO highlights rise in estimated facilities cost for USCG OPC fleet

It will cost more than planned to upgrade shoreside facilities, such as those in Kodiak, Alaska, to support the proposed US Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutters. (Michael Fabey)

The expected costs for new or upgraded facilities to accommodate the proposed US Coast Guard (USCG) Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) fleet has more than tripled over the last decade, according to a recently released US Government Accountability (GAO) Office report.

“[The] OPC's facilities acquisition cost estimate – including home ports and shore facilities – increased from USD431 million to USD1.4 billion from 2012 to 2022,” the GAO noted in its report Coast Guard Acquisitions: Offshore Patrol Cutter Program Needs to Mature Technology and Design, released on 20 June.

“Programme officials said that the 2012 estimate assumed that the coastguard could use existing MEC [medium endurance cutters] home ports and navy bases,” the GAO reported.

However, based on home port feasibility studies from 2018 and 2020, the USCG attributed the cost estimate increase to several issues, the GAO said.

The USCG is unable to leverage lower-cost navy home port options, as was originally assumed early in the OPC home port planning effort, the GAO reported, adding, “Officials said that the Coast Guard home port requests at naval stations could not be supported due to pier space limitations and personnel increases that would exceed navy support capacity.”

The USCG also noted to the GAO the high cost of waterfront real estate acquisition needed to accommodate OPC home porting and docking, which was not originally accounted for in the 2012 cost estimate.

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