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BIW President: Defense Department Determines Whether Shipyard Closes

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Robert F. Bukaty
/
Associated Press/file
In this Dec. 4, 2017 file photo, the future USS Michael Monsoor leaves Bath Iron Works for sea trials in Bath, Maine. The shipbuilder has replaced one of the massive turbines on the stealthy destroyer.

Bath Iron Works' President Dirk Lesko says the shipyard will remain open unless the Navy or Defense Department instructs it to close.Lesko released a letter Monday in response to a letter from more than 70 Maine legislators requesting that the company consider closing temporarily to protect workers from the spread of the new coronavirus.  

Lesko says the Department of Defense would have to instruct he shipyard to close. Up to now, the Navy has directed the company to maintain normal work hours.

The letter from Maine Legislators asserts that the Navy and DOD don't have the final say over a temporary shutdown, and requested additional information about how the company is protecting workers.

BIW says workers have been instructed to follow proper CDC personal protection guidelines. The company says it allows employees to take PTO if they feel it's necessary to protect themselves and their families.