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WLBB-30 Mackinaw Great Lakes Icebreaking (GLIB)

The U.S. Coast Guard is required by law to maintain a heavy icebreaking capability on the Great Lakes to assist in keeping channels and harbors open to navigation in response to the reasonable demands of commerce to meet the winter shipping needs of industry. The CGC MAWCKINAW (WLBB-30) is the U.S. Coast Guard's only heavy icebreaker on the Great Lakes and was designed to provide multi-mission capabilities with state of the art systems. She carries on the proud legacy and tradition of her predecessor, CGC MACKINAW (WAGB-83), which faithfully served the maritime community throughout the Great Lakes for over 60 years.

The Great Lakes Icebreaking (GLIB) Capability Replacement Project was a major acquisition program chartered to maintain heavy icebreaking capability on the Great Lakes. The Coast Guard's icebreaking mission is based on the statutory authorities of: 14 USC 2, 14 USC 88 and 14 USC 141. Executive Order 7521, dated 21 December 1936, states "The Coast Guard... is hereby directed to assist in keeping open the navigation by means of ice-breaking operations... channels and harbors in accordance with the reasonable demands of commerce."

Coast Guard Cutter MACKINAW was the only U.S. heavy ice-breaking resource assigned to the Great Lakes. Constructed in 1944, by the Toledo Shipbuilding Company, USCGC MACKINAW was the world's largest and most powerful icebreaker at the time and represented the state of the art in icebreaking technology. But after 60 years of continuous service, MACKINAW became increasingly costly to support. USCGC MACKINAW was scheduled to be decommissioned in 2006.

The Senate Appropriations Committee in Report No. 106-309 granted Coast Guard the authority to enter into a contract for the Great Lakes Icebreaker Capability Replacement Project (GLIB). The GLIBís Request for Proposals (RFP) provides for a multi-purpose cutter, capable of heavy icebreaking and also functioning as a buoy tender in the Great Lakes.

The GLIB RFP, issued on December 21, 2000, allows for full and fair competition. The RFP allowed broad participation by shipyards, including those far removed from the Great Lakes and those that do not have experience with icebreakers. The RFP allowed each shipyard to propose a vessel design tailored to standards, practices, and past experiences employed by that shipyard. Therefore, no shipyard was put at a competitive disadvantage by a specific technical requirement. The information required in the RFP, such as past performance and technical/management proposals, are common throughout the commercial shipbuilding industry and can be submitted by any qualified shipyard. Also, the use of commercial standards allows participation by shipyards that specialize in building either commercial vessels or military vessels.

Proposals were evaluated on the basis of technical/management and past performance which, combined, were more important than price. The past performance evaluation was to be based on a past performance questionnaire and information obtained from previous or current customers. Based on

its evaluation of Halter’s and Marinette’s proposals, the source selection authority concluded that Marinette’s proposal, which was lower in price, represented the best value to the government.

Halter Marine, Inc. protested the award of a contract to Marinette Marine Corporation under request for proposals (RFP) No. DTCG23-01-R-AGL001, issued by the U. S. Coast Guard for design and construction of a Great Lakes Ice Breaker (GLIB) ship. Halter asserted that the awardee’s proposal does not meet the past performance requirements of the RFP. Halter’s protest was based on an erroneous interpretation of the RFP’s requirements.

The CGC MACKINAW (WLBB-30) was built by Marinette Marine Corporation, a subsidiary of Manitowoc Marine Group. The cutter was assembled indoors in the Vessel Erection Building. This allowed the vessel to be assembled and outfitted in controlled conditions then moved outdoors to the launch ways. The cutter was constructed in a planned system of modules or blocks that are fabricated and pre-outfitted prior to being moved to the erection building. This method of construction is extremely efficient as it provides easy access to equipment, components, and spaces. The modules are essentially complete prior to final assembly.

The Coast Guard awarded Marinette Marine Corperation with a contract to construct a new multi-purpose icebreaking vessel on Oct 15 2001. The multi-purpose vessel would provide heavy icebreaking services and maintain floating aids-to-navigation on the Great Lakes. In addition, the vessel will have secondary mission responsibility for search and rescue, marine enviromental response, and maritime law enforcement. The USCGC MACKINAW (WLBB-30) was launched on April 2, 2005 and delivered in October of 2005.

With the arrival of the new Great Lakes Icebreaker (GLIB) in spring 2005, the USCG conducted operational tests during the 2006 winter season and commissioned the GLIB as USCGC MACKINAW (WLBB 30) in June 2006. The new MACKINAW greatly enhanced the Coast Guard’s ability to conduct essential icebreaking activities while remaining multi-mission capable. In addition to ice breaking, the new MACKINAW maintains aids to navigation, assists with Search and Rescue as needed, and conducts Port Security and Law Enforcement Operations as required.

The name Mackinaw has its roots in the ancient Native American language of the Great Lakes. Specifically, it is derived from the word Michilimackinac in the Ojibwa language, meaning "Island of the Great Turtle." Both Mackinaw (the English derivation) and Mackinac (the French derivation where "ac" is pronounced "aw") are derived from this word and pronounced Mak'ino.

The original CGC MACKINAW (WAGB-83) was constructed during World War II in response to the need to keep shipping active during the winter months to maintain production of steel. CGC MACKINAW (WAGB-83) began operations soon after the commissioning on December 20, 1944. Homeported in Cheboygan, MI, MACKINAW provided over 60 years of outstanding service to the communities and commercial enterprises of the Great Lakes. Her age made her very expensive and difficult to maintain. Thus, she was decommissioned in June 2006 where she now serves as a beautiful lakeside museum in Mackinaw City, MI.

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Page last modified: 18-04-2019 14:30:22 ZULU