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Eastern Shipbuilding to contest OPC Stage 2 award in Court of Federal Claims

Posted on October 13, 2022

Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) has not given up its fight against the U.S. Coast Guard’s decision to award Stage 2 of the offshore patrol cutter (OPC) program to Austal USA. Although it has withdrawn the bid protest it filed with the GAO in June, Eastern will now pursue the matter in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC). At issue, says Eastern, is the government’s failure to release information in response to the GAO bid protest.

It is understood that the information that the USCG refused to disclose, even under a protective order, was the Austal proposal or the agency’s scoring evaluations.

“The federal procurement process is designed to be fair and transparent. Ordinarily, the government discloses reasonable justification for its award decisions to the attorneys representing the parties in a protest. The government has declined to voluntarily disclose the information that might offer that justification. As a result, we are seeking the information and justification through a different legal pathway,” said Joey D’Isernia, President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc.

Eastern’s action in the Court of Federal claims is not an appeal related to the bid protest. It is a new proceeding challenging the agency’s procurement award decision.

Eastern was the original prime contractor for the whole of the OPC program, but in June 2019 submitted a request to the Coast Guard’s parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, for extraordinary contract relief after its shipbuilding facilities sustained significant damage resulting from Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm, in October 2018. In response, then Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan made the decision to grant extraordinary contract relief limited to the first four hulls. Following that, the Coast Guard revised the OPC acquisition strategy “to mitigate emergent cost and schedule risk by establishing a new, full and open competition for OPCs five and through 15, designated as Stage 2 of the overall program.”


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