(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced that SAFE Boats International of Port Orchard, Washington has secured a Coast Guard contract worth $145 million. The U.S. Coast Guard will purchase up to 700 Response Boats from SAFE Boats International to replace nearly 300 non-standard shore-based boats and provide a model for the Coast Guard's new Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSST's).
The MSST's known as the Coast Guard's anti-terror "SWAT teams," were conceived
after the September 11th attacks to provide quick response to terrorist threats in the
nation's busiest seaports. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Murray
insisted upon funding for the creation of four teams instead of the two proposed by the
Bush administration. Murray also directed that one of the MSST's be based in the Puget
Sound, and was the keynote speaker for the commissioning of Seattle's first-in-the-nation
unit on July 3, 2002.
"I congratulate SAFE Boats International on securing this important contract. At a time
when our economy is struggling, this contract will provide good family-wage jobs and
increased business for Port Orchard," Murray said. "In the short term, this contract will
bring needed construction jobs to the region – giving our local economy a much-needed
shot in the arm. And in the long term, it will be an important addition to our homeland
security plan – providing a critical asset to help keep our communities safe and secure."
The Coast Guard selected SAFE Boats International to manufacture the new boats
following a two-phased competitive process. Three vendors were selected after submitting
written proposals. Coast Guard personnel then tested the designs and selected SAFE
Boats International as the winning contractor. SAFE Boats will produce all of the boats at
their manufacturing facility in Port Orchard.
Delivery of the first new boats, which include communication systems capable of
communicating with other Federal, State and local homeland security partners, is expected
in July of this year. The Coast Guard will purchase up to 700 boats as needed over the
next seven years. The contract represents the single largest acquisition of identical
response craft ever purchased by the Coast Guard.
"Homeland Security is vitally important to Washington state. Our state, and the entire
nation, will benefit greatly from these new Coast Guard boats, which will strengthen
security at our ports and on our waterways," Murray said.
Senator Murray is a leading voice in Congress for the Coast Guard and port security. In
the last two years, Murray has secured 5 new Coast Guard vessels and crews to beef up
patrols in the Puget Sound. In 2001, Murray chaired the appropriations panel with
jurisdiction over the Coast Guard's budget and she wrote the bill that increased the Coast
Guard's budget by 10 percent.
Murray also developed and secured nearly $60 million in funding for "Operation Safe
Commerce," a pilot project at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma and two other ports, to
improve container security.