Tallahassee, Fla. â€“ Today, Governor Ron DeSantis applauded the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Coast Guard for granting extraordinary relief to Panama City-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) for four Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) ships. The Governor spoke with Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan this morning who informed him of this decision.
ESG requested extraordinary relief in June following significant damage to their shipbuilding facilities from Hurricane Michael one year ago. Acting Secretary McAleenan granted the extraordinary contract relief on the basis that ESGâ€™s performance on the OPC contract is vital to national defense.
â€œThis is great news for Northwest Florida and our entire state,â€� said Governor DeSantis. â€œOne year ago, Hurricane Michael devastated this community and weâ€™ve been working hard every day since to rebuild and recover. Without this extraordinary relief, countless jobs for Floridians would have been lost and our national defense would have been diminished. Acting Secretary McAleenan realized this, and I thank him for this decision.â€�
â€œEastern Shipbuildingâ€™s request for extraordinary relief was carefully considered,â€� said Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Karl L. Schultz. â€œThis review validated the essential contributions the OPC will provide to our national security and determined that providing the necessary relief in this exceptional situation is consistent with the law, fiscally responsible, and the most expeditious and responsible way to deliver the OPC and its essential and improved capabilities for the benefit of the American public and our national and homeland security.â€�
â€œEastern Shipbuilding Group is vital to the economic recovery of Northwest Florida following Hurricane Michael and we are currently well into the construction program of this critical national security asset for the United States Government,â€� ESG President Joey Dâ€™Isernia. â€œWe have dedicated one of our three facilities to the construction of this class of vessels and are continuing to execute a large recapitalization program designed to ensure that we remain uniquely positioned to deliver this class of ships in an expeditious and efficient manner. Our dedication to this program is stronger than ever as we continue to recover from the effects of Hurricane Michael. â€œ
Located along the Gulf Coast in Panama City, ESG was established in 1976 for the purpose of constructing commercial fishing boats. ESG has since transformed into one of todayâ€™s leading innovators in the marine industry with a portfolio of over 350 vessels. Through its state-of-the-art production line and fabrication process, ESG is one of the most diverse vessel construction companies in the world.