Amid the devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael last week is a family-owned shipyard the Coast Guard had just picked to work on the $10 billion Offshore Patrol Cutter program, the largest acquisition project in the service’s history.
The Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City took what amounts to a direct hit from the deadly storm. It overturned completed boats and damaged buildings and heavy equipment in the yard, and left the company’s 800-strong workforce scattered, with some homeless. Officials in Florida estimate that 33 people have died from the storm and that toll is likely to keep rising.
It is unclear what effect the storm will have on the program, but the amount of damage inflicted and the repair work on several ships nearing completion in the company’s yard would seem to indicate the path back will take some time.