An ice breaker ship called the Polar Star is coming to Mare Island for repairs-- and with it, dozens of jobs -- thanks to a $5.1 million U.S. Coast Guard contract awarded to Mare Island Dry Docks, LLC, Rep. Mike Thompson's office announced Tuesday.
An ice breaker is used to clear pathways for supply vessels and support research missions, a spokesman said.
The contract for the 90-day project creates 70 full-time jobs and is set to start in mid-August, Thompson spokesman Austin Vevurka said.
"This is a great day for Mare Island, Vallejo and Solano County," Thompson said in a statement. "The Polar Star contract will bring much needed jobs and revenue to our community, and it represents an important step forward in the economic revitalization of Mare Island."
No one from the company was available for comment Tuesday afternoon, but the firm's landlord, Lennar Mare Island, said through a spokesman, that officials are pleased by this announcement.
"Lennar Mare Island is excited that Mare Island Dry Docks is continuing its commitment to invest in Mare Island, and we thank Congressman Thompson for his ongoing support," Lennar Mare Island spokesman Edward Moser said. "This will be another driver of economic activity on the Mare Island waterfront that brings jobs and private investment to Vallejo."
Last year, Thompson hosted a Mare Island revitalization summit, pulling together private and public-sector stakeholders to focus on the clean-up, redevelopment and long-term economic opportunities on the former Naval Shipyard. The Polar Star contract is the kind of long-term economic opportunity discussed there, his office notes.
"I want to thank Congressman Mike Thompson for his commitment to Mare Island and to everyone involved in helping secure this contract for Mare Island," Coast Guard Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, said in a statement. "I can't wait to see the 'Now Hiring' signs.'"
As the Arctic polar ice cap continues receding, further opening the region to global shipping traffic and other economic development, the Polar Star will be a key Coast Guard asset protecting American interests and ensuring safe and reliable maritime commerce, he said.
A 399-foot polar class icebreaker with a 140-person crew, the Polar Star was commissioned in January 1976 . Its maximum speed is 18 knots and it's capable of continuously breaking 6 feet of ice at three knots and can break 21 feet of ice backing and ramming, Vevurka said. It recently finished a mission in Antarctica breaking through 12 miles of up to 10-feet-thick ice on a major shipping channel, he said. Tankers use the channel to deliver some 3.5 million gallons of fuel to area residents and more than 500 containers of supplies to operate McMurdo and South Pole stations for about 12 months.
Formerly called Allied Defense Recycling, Mare Island Dry Docks last year replaced Mare Island Shipyard, LLC, which put the dry docks to re-use in 2011.
Contact staff writer Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at Rachelvth.
Photo Credit: United Status Coast Guard