Bath Iron Works is in line for a contract to build another U.S. Navy destroyer, in addition to the five it already has under contract.

Members of Maine’s congressional delegation said Saturday the possibility that the shipyard would be awarded another DDG-51 destroyer was based on a long-standing agreement on the division of work between BIW and Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Mississippi.

Namely, the contract for the additional ship would be triggered by a 2002 agreement with the Navy that would give BIW another DDG-51 to build if the Huntington Ingalls Shipyard were awarded a contract to build an amphibious attack ship. The Navy announced Friday it had agreed to the construction of the amphibious ship in Mississippi and would honor the swap of work with BIW.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King issued a statement saying the award of work to the Mississippi yard has been held up because of budget constraints, but they have repeatedly told the Navy that they expected it to uphold the agreement if the attack ship were given a go-ahead.

“The agreement is clear and our national security requirements are compelling,” the senators said. “For the past two years, we have made clear to the Navy that it must honor the swap agreement and today’s news suggests that the Navy is intent on doing so.”

Collins, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, and King, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have been actively lobbying top Navy officials to add the additional destroyer since last year.

“The DDG-51s have been real workhorses for the Navy and building more of them at BIW is a smart investment,” U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said in a statement.

While the agreement compels the Navy to go ahead with plans to build a destroyer at BIW, Congress still has to come up with the funding for the ship, noted Pingree, who represents the 1st District.

Pingree, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has pushed to make funding available to finance the swap agreement and build the extra destroyer in Bath.

Staff Writers Edward D. Murphy and Kevin Miller contributed to this report.

filed under: