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 Post subject: Re: Ice breaking
Unread postPosted: October 8, 2021, 3:43 pm 
Only in a captive market with few competitors, such as the defense industry, could private business get away with milking the taxpayers. And that's because government, at all levels let them get away with it.

But I would think outsourcing to private business ATON wouldn't be any different than dredging is now - and that's been done since the early 1980s.

Afterall, many communities and municipalities have outsourced their waste collection to the private sector.

Just my thoughts..

-Brian


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 Post subject: Re: Ice breaking
Unread postPosted: October 8, 2021, 10:58 am 

Joined: July 2, 2010, 1:36 pm
Posts: 756
Guest wrote:
Slightly off topic, but could the USCG outsource buoy maintenance to civilian contractors? The USACE moved most if not all of its dredging requirements on the lakes to civilian contractors several years ago. I'm surprised that the USCG hasn't followed suit with its aids to navigation.


They could, but all of those contractors would all still have to adhere to a nationally-standardized system of ATON appearance, maintenance, and placement anyway. What exactly would be the benefit of doing so? It wouldn't likely save money; look what happens when we let private contractors run the show of designing and building other government contract items: The government pays trillions of taxpayer dollars to private contractors for things like the LCS program and the F-35 warplane. The private contractors' number one goal, by definition, is to maximize profit margins that they can extract from whatever business they happen to be doing. The quality and performance of the product they come up with are instantly, automatically at odds with the mission to extract profit and hopefully maximize that amount of profit. Every bit of profit taken away is money not spent on quality or performance, or money that represents an over-charge on price in the first place. That means that we the taxpayers end up footing the bill for private contractor products that don't actually perform very well as, say, littoral combat ships or warplanes but do perform perfectly well as mechanisms for taking taxpayer money and funneling it into executives' offshore bank accounts.

Having the Coast Guard doing ATON work directly means that at least theoretically a non-profit-oriented organization is doing the job, and at least theoretically they are directly accountable to voting taxpayers, without the middleman of private contractors inflating prices and putting a drag on the tax system by trying to extract the maximum amount of profit margin from a contract that they think they can get away with.


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 Post subject: Re: Ice breaking
Unread postPosted: October 8, 2021, 9:10 am 
Slightly off topic, but could the USCG outsource buoy maintenance to civilian contractors? The USACE moved most if not all of its dredging requirements on the lakes to civilian contractors several years ago. I'm surprised that the USCG hasn't followed suit with its aids to navigation.


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 Post subject: Re: Ice breaking
Unread postPosted: October 6, 2021, 11:13 am 

Joined: July 2, 2010, 1:36 pm
Posts: 756
Portdrydock wrote:
I don’t understand the argument for more ice breaking capacity on the Great Lakes (another Mackinac) when the Coast Guard plan is not to replace the Alder in Duluth until the spring of 2022. To me, it makes the argument for another Mackinac hollow.


Alder was designed and built primarily as a buoy tender. She's a light icebreaker at best, able to handle flat, relatively thin ice that forms in shallow, protected bodies of water like the Duluth-Superior harbor. What the Lakes shipping industry is advocating for is something that can handle thick, piled-up, wind-rowed brash ice which forms in places like Whitefish Bay, the St. Marys and St. Clair Rivers, and offshore of port entrances. That ice is not something Alder, Hollyhock et. al have ever been able to handle, but it is the type of ice that causes serious bottlenecks during early-season operations, and it's what the Mackinaws and the Bay-class icebreaking 'tugs' are supposed to be able to take shots at. Given that there's only one Mackinaw-class ship currently in service on the U.S. side, and that the Bay class ships are getting up there in years, it makes sense that interested parties have identified a need for additional icebreaking capability.

It would be interesting to see whether the Coast Guard could manage to two-birds-one-stone the situation and design a ship capable of being available for heavy icebreaking duty on the Lakes from December to April and also being at least somewhat helpful to the USCG for having a presence in the Arctic from July - October. Would have to have a relatively narrow beam to transit the Seaway & Welland locks, but perhaps she could operate as an 'oblique' icebreaker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_icebreaker


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 Post subject: Re: Ice breaking
Unread postPosted: October 6, 2021, 10:00 am 
I agree with this. Perhaps, the USCG has long-range plans to reduce other current ice-breaking assets on the lakes in the future? Such as a permanent relocation of the Hollyhock and some (or all) of the Bay class tugs?


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 Post subject: Re: Ice breaking
Unread postPosted: October 6, 2021, 9:53 am 
Annually we have the Canadian Samuel Risley assisting with icebreaking duties. The Canadian Martha Black is called in as well as the Griffon, Pierre Raddison and the Des Groilers when the ice is heavy. I recall in 12', 13' or 14' the Mackinaw running around on one pod due to maintenance issues. The Bay class ice breakers are power horses and work extremely hard. They are showing their age from prolong use and abuse breaking ice. Adding a second Mackinaw class ice breaker is vital to keep things moving. The St. Marys River and Whitefish Bay can be a handful for one breaker. Thunderbay need assistance, the St. Clair and Detroit rivers need assets as well to keep rivers and commerce moving. The roads you drive on each day were built with materials delivered by ships. The steel in your car was produced from iron ore delivered by ships. When you switch on your lights and enjoy a cup of coffee while scrolling through this web page is courtesy of coal delivered by ships. This last one is lessening but still part of waterborne commerce. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Ice breaking
Unread postPosted: October 5, 2021, 6:01 pm 
I don’t understand the argument for more ice breaking capacity on the Great Lakes (another Mackinac) when the Coast Guard plan is not to replace the Alder in Duluth until the spring of 2022. To me, it makes the argument for another Mackinac hollow.


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