Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The state of our fleet

Let's change the subject form bears for a minute.

The Presidential debates are over and it seems that, according to NPR radio, there were a lot of important subjects that were not discussed. Many were terribly simplified.

One repeated comment just didn't seem to correlate with what I had read about one to two months ago, in the Kodiak Daily Mirror. So I looked up the article, and it confirms my concern.


According to our President, his budget included everything the military requested. Yes, the Senate has recently approved the short-term budget to keep things running. But the state of our  USCG ships seems to have a poor future, according to the government's own General Accounting Office (GAO).

For example, the larger of the 2 ships we have in Kodiak, the High-endurance class  (like the Munro) are only fully mission operational 44%  of the time. The Medium-endurance class ship (like the Alex Haley): 72% of the time.. These are the 2 ships covering the entire North Pacific and the Bering Sea. That is not very reassuring, either for the safety of our fishing fleet nor for our national defense.

I don't suspect that the "down-time" on our ships is as high as the average of the fleet, but those nubers are concerning.

And the future is not looking any better. These type of ships were built in the 1960's and 70's. So, are we expecting replacements soon? No. The GAO says it'll be 21 years on the current production schedule. But, because of their service records, it predicts our fleet will only last 15 years !

I must admit, I have not yet personally discussed this with the local folks at the USCG.

And I am trying not to be political here. But, I just don't see it as Fine and Dandy as our President has described.


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