Gulf Coast Shipyard Group has signed a three year lease at the state port in Gulfport to finish building the vessel. A unanimous decision at the Port Authority meeting on Friday morning will bring a new tenant to the Port of Gulfport. John Dane III, the C.E.O. of Gulf Coast Shipyard Group, says, "We had our lease approved to operate our boats in the deep water port." Gulf Coast Shipyard Group plans to work out of the port for three years, possibly more, while outfitting and completing 300 foot dual fuel boats, a new green technology. Jonathon Daniels, the Port Director, says, "This is the first maritime tenants we've had in 15 years. It's a momentous occasion for us and for that group as well."
The Port Authority is excited the announcement addresses some of the community concerns. At the top of that list: job creation. Howard Page, the STEPS Coalition Organizer, says, "For this amount of money, we need to create jobs. We need to create them soon, and so far, the performance has been pretty bad in job creation. Of course we had some good news today, a step in the right direction." Glen Evans, a Gulf Coast resident, says, "We had a lot of tenants in the port. Of course after Katrina, we lost a lot of those tenants." Evans is a member of the Longshoreman's Association and says that less than a third of his fellow members have work in a typical week. Evans also says, "We would welcome anything that would come into the port and basically feed some of these people that are out of work and on other jobs and not making the wages that they would be." Page also says, “Considering the money, we have a long way to go before everyone is satisfied.” Thursday night, the STEPS Coalition had a public meeting with the Port Director about the thousands of jobs promised with a federal grant. This new tenant will bring sub-contracting opportunities and 30 new jobs.