Page 39: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (June 2021)
USCG Fleet Modernization Annual
vessels capable of supporting multiple autonomy software systems, bridging the gap between the shipbuilder and the software developer, streamlining the path to autonomy and simplifying the process for all clients…” Initially the uptake will be from the government (not uncommon as technolo- gies ? nd their way to commercial users). In late 2020, Sea
Machines Inc., a Boston based developer of robotics applica- tions, announced that it was partnering with Sharktech on de- veloping a version of the 29 De? ant to the U.S. Coast Guard’s
Research and Development Center. Metal Shark says that it was selected by the U.S. Marine Corps, in early 2021, to de- velop its future autonomous naval defense system, the Long
Range Unmanned Surface Vessel (LRUSV) system, utilizing technology developer Spatial Integrated Systems (SIS, re- cently acquired by Huntington Ingalls Industries) to provide the autonomy solution.
Miami Dade’s purchase of the Metal Shark boats highlights the interplay of local funding sources with Federal support from the Port Security Grants Program (PSGP administered through FEMA), with input from local US Coast Guard Cap- tains of the Port. In the case of Miami Dade, the Federal grants (awarded in 2017 and 2018) were used, in conjunc- tion with the Fire Rescue budget, to fund the purchase of the two Metal Shark boats (at a cost of approximately $1.7 mil- lion each). At waterfronts across the U.S., the grants have been vital. Perth Amboy, New Jersey (the site of multiple oil products terminals), bene? tted from a $900 thousand PSGP award, using the funds to procure a 44-ft. boat capable of pumping around 9,000 gpm. Other ports using PSGP awards in recent years include Port Canaveral, Fla, which applied
PSGP funding toward the purchase of a multipurpose ? re and rescue boat, a 70-ft. Metal Shark De? ant, delivered in January, 2021. Funding sources for the boat (which the port says cost $4.6 million, and would serve the burgeoning commercial space industry besides the re-starting passenger cruise business) also included $1.5 million from the State of
Florida. A Munson boat delivered in 2020 to the Fall River,
Mass. ? re department bene? tted from a $472 thousand Port
Security grant (with the local department funding the $158 thousand balance). Metal Shark’s ? reboat for Orange Beach,
Alabama, with 3000 gpm capability, delivered in March, 2021, also bene? tted from a $750 thousand award from the
PSGP 75% of the total cost.
In this sector of the market, impacted by technological and political winds, there is still room for good old-fashioned re- sourcefulness. Local authorities can be creative; in the case of Candlewood Lake, Connecticut, a $100,000 donation from FirstLight, a local provider of hydro-electric energy (with a keen interest in the local lakes), eased the burden of the $150,000 price-tag on an aluminum patrol boat, a stretch for the CLA.
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