General Dynamics Corp. facilities in Virginia, Rhode Island and Connecticut will do the majority of the planning and preliminary work in the repair of the USS Miami, instead of the Kittery-based Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where the nuclear submarine was burned in an arsonist’s fire in May, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said Monday.
Pingree announced Monday that General Dynamics, whose subsidiaries include Bath Iron Works, was awarded the initial $94 million contract in the long-term repair job estimated to be worth as much as $450 million over the next several years.
Only about a third of the planning and preparation work included in the initial $94 million contract will take place in Kittery, Pingree said, while the other two-thirds will take place at GD facilities outside Maine.
That news represents a change from the sentiments of earlier announcements coming from other members of Maine’s congressional delegation. Last month, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced that the U.S. Navy planned to repair the submarine at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Last week, outgoing U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, visited the shipyard and reportedly told workers there she was confident they would repair the USS Miami “better than new.”
Pingree suggested Monday that still may largely be the case over the longer term. The 1st District Democrat suggested in a statement that more of the work will return to the local facility as the ambitious reclamation project moves from the planning phase to the repair phases.
“There is going to be plenty of work for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and it’s clear that private industry partners like General Dynamics are key to getting the sub repaired and back in the fleet,” Pingree said in a statement. “There is an enormous amount of work to be done to fix the Miami so it can safely go back to sea, but I have no doubt that if anyone can do it, it’s the men and women at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.”
Casey James Fury, 24, is facing federal charges of arson tied to the May 23 blaze that gutted the vessel, as well as a separate fire he is accused of setting at the shipyard June 16 which was quickly extinguished.
Investigators say Fury set fire to some rags inside the vessel while working aboard the USS Miami because he was suffering from anxiety and wanted to leave work early to meet with his girlfriend.
If convicted, Fury could face life in prison and as much as $250,000 in fines for each charge.