Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 26, 2011
Last week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced the state is offering a $214 million incentives package to Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. in an effort to keep approximately 3,850 workers at Avondale shipyard, which is set to close in 2013.
Governor Jindal made the announcement on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, along with Huntington Ingalls president and CEO Mike Petters. The package, which is a memorandum of understanding between the company and the state, includes job creation credits, funding for modernizing the shipyard, and workforce training.
Huntington Ingalls is in preliminary discussions with potential partners for the site, but no agreement has been reached. A statement by Jindal's office says the search for potential partners and customers is focused on "major growth markets," such as commercial shipbuilding.
“We applaud the efforts of Louisiana Governor Jindal in his drive to offer incentives to keep the hard working men and women at Avondale employed,” said Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) (AFL-CIO) President and U.S. Navy Captain Mike Jewell. “In these tough economic times just one head of a household cannot afford to lose a job especially in an industry such as shipbuilding where the economic and national security of the United States are so vitally intertwined.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Navy announced it had cleared the way for federal funding to be used to convert the Avondale shipyard to new commercial uses.
United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu and US Rep. Cedric Richmond received confirmation from the Department of the Navy that any federal funds provided for the closure and conversion of the Avondale Shipyard may be applied to partnerships designed to bring more work to the facility.
The shipyard in Jefferson Parish is one of the largest employers in metropolitan New Orleans. Its planned closure was announced last year by Northrop Grumman Corp. Northrop Grumman spun off its military shipbuilding division, which also includes a shipyard at Pascagoula, Miss., into Huntington Ingalls in March 2011.
The shipyard currently employs thousands of workers, who are being laid off in phases as Huntington Ingalls completes its contracted work.
Petters said the company will "leave no stone unturned" in its search for a partner on a joint venture.
Jewell agrees and is prepared to help. “The commercial viability of U.S. shipyards is more than important. We will do everything we can to support the long term viability of important national assets such as Avondale. The MEBA is here to lend its full support to help find partners to keep the yard alive,” said Jewell.
About the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.)
The M.E.B.A. is America’s largest officer’s maritime labor organization. M.E.B.A. supplies U.S. Coast Guard licensed deck and engineering officers in both the U.S. domestic and international trades. The organization was established in1875. It provides professional services to owners and operators of vessels engaged in all trades including oil & gas, LNG, container, RoRo, tankships, dry bulk, tugs and barges, research vessels, ferry systems and in various deck and engineering management capacities in the shoreside support fields. M.E.B.A. is a cornerstone organization that provides unique solutions that enhance the U.S.-Flag maritime industry and business growth in the international maritime sector. M.E.B.A. provides maritime officers who sail and serve their country during times of peace and war and is a preeminent service provider for the United States Government including the Military Sealift Command, U.S. Maritime Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers. For more information visit http://www.mebaunion.org.