The east bank was the site of the original Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., founded in 1938, but was decimated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The reactivation will restore the shipyard's ability to support Ingalls' current ship construction and modernization programs as well as help the company prepare for future work, including next-generation amphibious assault ships and surface combatants.
"We are excited to be bringing the east bank back to life," Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said. "As we prepare to celebrate our 80th anniversary, what better way to do that than to announce that the original Ingalls facility will become a productive, vibrant part of the Pascagoula landscape once again!"
Work will begin immediately on the project, which is expected to take about two years to complete.
The main component of the project includes the addition of large, covered construction areas for construction of ship assemblies and components as well as the restoration of an outfitting pier.
"We are using proven concepts from our west bank modernization as a guide for our east bank reactivation," said George Jones, Ingalls' vice president for operations. "Our employees are the best sources for innovative ideas. With their help, we have improved safety, efficiency and working conditions. We have some of the best shipbuilders in the country, and they deserve the best shipyard in which to work. From more covered work areas and better environmental controls, to state-of-the-art tools and technology, Ingalls is leading the way in modern military ship design and construction."
The east bank reactivation project is the newest element of the company's modernization efforts to remain a vital element of the nation's shipbuilding industrial base.
"We are fortunate to operate in an area that supports shipbuilding and our military at the city, county and state levels," Cuccias said. "Together with the State of Mississippi, we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to provide our shipbuilders the best tools and equipment and the safest, most efficient work environment possible in which to do the great work they do every single day. Our local leaders support shipbuilding with workforce training programs, economic development incentive policies and by providing good communities in which our employees are able to raise their families—in many cases the follow-on generations of shipbuilders at Ingalls. So when we determined we need additional facilities for our operations, it made perfect sense to do this expansion here in our hometown."
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today released the following statement in response to the Huntington Ingalls announcement that it plans to reopen shipbuilding facilities on the east bank of the Pascagoula River. The site was the home of the original Ingalls shipyard and was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
"This is great news for our state, the Gulf Coast, and the many men and women of Ingalls who make a living building some of the finest ships in the world," = said U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss. "When this facility is restored, Ingalls Shipbuilding will be equipped to maximize its construction capacity. This comes at a critical point for the U.S. military, as Congress recommits to building up our naval fleet and meeting emergent security challenges."