GAO rejects Marinette protest over Deepwater cutter

The Government Accountability Office has rejected a bid protest from Marinette Marine Corp. over a Coast Guard ship-building contract awarded to Bollinger Shipyards Inc.

“Yesterday we denied the protest of Marinette against the Coast Guard’s award to Bollinger,” said Michael R. Golden, managing associate general counsel of GAO’s procurement law division. No further information is available because the case is under protective order, he said.

Marinette filed the bid protest in October, a month after the Coast Guard made the $88 million contract award to Bollinger. The contract is for design and construction of the Sentinel-class patrol boat as part of the Integrated Deepwater Systems asset replacement program.

The approximate value of this contract, if all options are exercised for a total of 34 patrol boats, is $1.5 billion over a period of between six and eight years.

The watchdog group Project on Government Oversight expressed concerns about the Bollinger award on its blog today.

“We are of course very pleased with GAO’s decision,” Rear Adm. Gary Blore, assistant commandant for acquisition, said in a statement today. “The Coast Guard had been confident, especially given the acquisition reforms our agency has put in place and with the rigor and discipline followed throughout the process for this patrol boat contract award, that GAO would ultimately uphold the Coast Guard’s decision.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Wed, Jan 14, 2009 Michael DeKort

- The GAO asked for two extensions that would have put the decision past the inauguration. Then 3 days before the original deadline they make their decision? Did someone press for a decision before the new administration -Previous performance is normally part of the process. Congressional aids told me that the Coast Guard didn't evaluate previous performance of Bollinger, relative to the 123 debacle, because the DHS IG and DoJ hadn't finished their investigation. How convenient is that? (The DoJ is also now responsible for the 123 refund acquisition.) Did the GAO ignore previous performance too or do their own investigation? If so what did they find? It's interesting that the Coast Guard can ignore previous performance of an ICGS subcontractor and award them what may be a $1.5b contract and they virtually ignore what is very recent poor performance. - I was told the Coast Guard didn't evaluate any of the Bidder's C4ISR solution. That's interesting because it is 1/3 or more of the cost of each boat. - Bollinger sued Northrop right after the protest was filed. In the suit they ask for $12m in compensation for hull and C4ISR work because the 123 contracts were canceled. In the suit Bollinger said Northrop was completely responsible for the Hull, shaft and C4ISR problems. If there was no wrong doing why try to pass the blame? Sure looks like Bollinger was trying real hard to void the blame so the GAO, DHS IG or DoJ wouldn't come down on them or find reason to deny the FRC award. Also - we learned from the lawsuit that ICGS appears to not only be inclined to pay the $96m 123 refund but they believe they may be due compensation for the government canceling the contract because all of the 123s were lost. I realize there are a lot of issues that go in to issues like this. and a lot of politics. Maybe Bollinger has the best product etc. Additionally I have no problem with the people of southern Louisiana getting a big contract. They could use the break. But something seems wrong here. Did the GAO investigate Bollinger's performance and make some kind of evaluation of that? If not shouldn't they have waited until the DoJ and DHS IG finished their investigations - especially since they were investigating all of the potential wrong doing relative to the 123 project? Why did the GAO ask for two extensions they didn't use? Why didn't they wait until the new administration took over - especially since both of the extensions they asked for were after 1/20? Did the DHS and Coast Guard pull a fast one while they could? Will the Obama administration step in and review this? Can the DHS and Coast Guard keeping giving the parties involved in the 123 debacle more work and more money - especially since it appears that the contractors not only have not interest in paying the $96m refund but may want to be financially compensated because the government canceled the contract?

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