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Continental Maritime to lay off 185 workers

U.S. Navy ship repair contractor Continental Maritime of San Diego will lay off 185 employees effective April 12, according to a notice filed with the state.

On Feb. 15, the Navy said it could cut maintenance work as soon as April, due to uncertainty in the continuing resolution to fund the government.

In addition, automatic sequestration cuts that kicked in March 1 will spoon $85 billion out of government spending through Oct. 1.

Defense contractors stand to feel the brunt of the sequester because many of the cuts are expected to hit the Defense Department.

Among those affected by the layoff include 22 pipefitters, 31 shipfitters, 15 machinists, 13 boilermakers and 17 ship superintendents, according to the notice.

The employees have performed hundreds of ship repairs for the Navy and Military Sealift Command, the company said.

“The cause of this notice was the uncertainty surrounding the potential impact of sequestration on future workload and potential impact of the outcome of the continuing resolution,” said Bill Glenn, a spokesman for Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

The U.S. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires most companies with 100 or more employees to give notification 60 days before mass layoffs or plant closings.

The Newport News, Va.-based military shipbuilding giant spun off Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) in March 2011, taking Continental Maritime with it.

Located at the foot of the Coronado Bridge at 1995 Bay Front St., Continental Maritime has repaired major surface vessels, amphibious ships and auxiliary ships.

Almost two years ago, Continental Maritime announced it would lay off almost a fifth of its work force, or 74 of its 400 jobs.

At that time, budget delays caused an economic downturn in San Diego’s ship repair business, forcing the company to cut its payroll.

Continental Maritime isn't the first San Diego shipyard to react to today's uncertain fiscal environment.

In February, Norfolk, Va.-based BAE Systems Ship Repair said 3,600 of its 5,000 employees could be laid off because of the continuing resolution.

The affected employees work at four of the company’s six shipyards across the United States that are focused exclusively on repair work for the U.S. Navy. In San Diego, that includes 1,368 employees.

General Dynamics NASSCO, its major shipyard in San Diego that repairs ships and builds new ones, also warned about 1,040 employees this month of indefinite layoffs that may come in late April.

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