DOJ: Shipbuilder Lied to Coast Guard to Win Contracts

Carolyn Cole

Corrected: August 17, 2011, 9:03PM

The United States filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Louisiana ship building company they say lied to them to gain a major contract with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The company, Bollinger Shipyards Inc., won a contract to extend the hulls of eight Coast Guard ships after making “misrepresentations about the hull strength of the converted vessels,” according to the DOJ statement. The first converted ship suffered hull failure immediately after the conversion, and efforts to repair the fleet failed. All eight were rendered unseaworthy, and now the government wants Bollinger to pay for the lost ships.

“Companies which make false statements to win Coast Guard contracts do a disservice to the men and women securing our borders,” Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, said in a statement. “We will take action against those who undermine the integrity of the public contracting process by providing substandard equipment to our armed services personnel.”Bollinger, which operates deepwater shipyards in Louisiana, joined a group of oil and gas companies in the controversial 2010 case to the Obama administration’s moratorium on drilling in the Gulf immediately following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The judge who struck down the moratorium, US District Court Judge Martin Feldman, was found to have recently held shares of Transocean and Halliburton, among other energy and drilling companies.

Bollinger was awarded the “Award for Excellence in Safety” by the Shipbuilders Council of America in 2010.

Ed Note: The story has been corrected from an earlier version which suggested the ‘Deepwater Program’ Bollinger contract was connected to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was not. We regret the error.