The Coast Guard on Thursday said it has modified its contract with Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) and awarded the company $343 million to begin construction of the second Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and purchase long lead-time material for the third ship.

The award comes just as the Coast Guard has begun a new competition for the OPCs due a Category 5 hurricane that severely damaged ESG’s shipbuilding facilities in the fall of 2018, forcing the shipbuilder to seek contract relief for cost and schedule.

The Coast Guard in 2019 granted that relief but said that it would reopen the competition for the medium endurance cutter beginning with the fifth hull. The program calls for 25 OPCs.

In March, the Coast Guard awarded eight industry study contracts for the follow-on OPC effort, with ESG one of the awardees.

ESG began production on the first OPC, the Argus, in January 2019, with delivery slated in 2022. The second OPC, to be named Chase, will be delivered in 2023.

The Coast Guard in September 2018 awarded ESG $317.5 million to build the Argus and long-lead for the Chase.

The long-lead funding allows ESG to purchase propeller and steering components, marine diesel engines, the ship integrated control system, switchboards and generators.

The OPC and Polar Security Cutter are the Coast Guard’s top two acquisition priorities.