Sequestration impacts San Diego's shipbuilding industry - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Sequestration impacts San Diego's shipbuilding industry

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  • First mobile landing platform christened in San Diego

    First mobile landing platform christened in San Diego

    Saturday, March 2 2013 7:32 PM EST2013-03-03 00:32:41 GMT
    The first mobile landing platform vessel is scheduled to be christened Saturday in San Diego, in honor of about 20,000 black Marines who trained in North Carolina in the 1940s, according to the Navy. 
    The first mobile landing platform vessel is scheduled to be christened Saturday in San Diego, in honor of about 20,000 black Marines who trained in North Carolina in the 1940s, according to the Navy. 

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A celebratory mood was felt along the San Diego waterfront as hundreds celebrate the christening of the Navy's newest ship.

The mobile landing platform Montford Point was launched at the General Dynamics Nassco shipyard Saturday.

But the mood was tapered by the automatic spending cuts that will hit the Military hard.

As more than a thousand people celebrated the christening of the US Navy's newest ship, the specter of sequestration on the area's shipbuilding industry surfaced during the ceremony.

"I had 10 minutes of remarks prepared. But now that I'm under sequestration I have to deduct 10 percent -- so I'm only going to give you nine minutes of remarks this morning," said US Navy Rear Admiral David H. Lewis.

But the effect of these now-mandated federal budget cuts on shipbuilding, one of San Diego's most significant economic drivers, is no laughing matter.

"This is a severe crisis and must be addressed immediately," said San Diego Maritime Jobs Coalition's Robert Godinez.

At a recent rally by the San Diego Ship Repair Association, the impact of sequestration on families who rely on Military contracts to make ends meet were fired up.

But with no deal by Friday's deadline there is no stopping these across the board spending cuts, at least for the time being.

"Ships will not be repaired, our readiness as a nation will go down, civilians in the defense department will be laid off," said San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

If not reversed, sequestration on the shipbuilding industry here in San Diego could mean the loss of 5,000 maritime industry jobs. As well as the loss of 10 ship maintenance projects, saving almost $200,000, and the cancellation of aircraft maintenance at North Island saving $83 million.

Already, Nassco informed 1,040 of its employees in San Diego, as well as in Virginia and Florida that layoff notices would likely be issued early next month -- including workers who helped create this latest awe-inspiring addition to the Navy's fleet.

"I can't think of a better argument, why we need to protect ourselves from indiscriminate cuts," said Lewis.

More than 25,000 Department of Defense employees in San Diego will also face mandatory furloughs as a result of the budget cuts.

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