Coast Guard takes delivery of National Security Cutter Bertholf

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Coast Guard conducted preliminary acceptance (delivery) of its first National Security Cutter, BERTHOLF (WMSL 750), today in Pascagoula, Miss.  Today’s delivery is a major milestone in BERTHOLF’s transition to full operational status in the Coast Guard’s fleet and represents preliminary acceptance of the cutter, as documented in the Material Inspection and Receiving Report (DD250).  The DD250 formally documents inspection, delivery by the ship builder, and receipt by the government This marks first major multi-mission cutter to be built and delivered to the Coast Guard in more than 20 years.

 Following recommendations from the cutter’s prospective commanding officer, Coast Guard technical authorities, the operational community, and acquisition professionals, the Coast Guard Agency Acquisition Executive, Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, gave the go-ahead for preliminary acceptance of BERTHOLF.  Rear Adm. Gary Blore, the Coast Guard’s Chief Acquisition Officer, highlighted this accomplishment and stated, “We’re grateful to the hundreds of dedicated Coast Guard personnel and employees, and our Navy partners, along with their industry counterparts and shipyard workers who worked so hard to accomplish this milestone.  As is typical in naval shipbuilding, literally hundreds of technical and construction challenges have been successfully overcome to make this day possible.”

Today’s preliminary acceptance allows the Coast Guard’s crew to move aboard BERTHOLF and place the cutter “In Commission Special” status.  This status indicates that the vessel is entering a post-delivery period of approximately 22-24 months during which it will undergo crew training, operational evaluation and certification, and Post Delivery and Post Shakedown availabilities to ensure it meets all performance and operational requirements.

Captain Patrick Stadt, the BERTHOLF’s newly appointed Commanding Officer, said, “My crew and I are excited to move aboard and begin readying this impressive cutter for sea. BERTHOLF will bring tremendous capabilities to the Coast Guard and we look forward to our role in achieving full operational deployment with the fleet.”

During the recently completed Acceptance Trials of BERTHOLF, the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) designated eight “starred” trial cards as a subset of the approximately 2,800 cards it identified.  The government uses trial cards to document technical and performance discrepancies that require correction before the ship becomes operational.  The INSURV Board recommended that the Coast Guard accept the BERTHOLF after appropriately addressing the eight starred cards.  The Coast Guard has overseen the successful resolution of two starred cards.  The remaining starred cards will continue to be addressed by the Coast Guard, with some pending final at-sea testing.  Those cards, along with all other outstanding trial cards, are listed as exceptions on the DD250 and will be closely tracked until they are completely resolved.

In addition to addressing those trial cards, the Coast Guard continues its information assurance work to achieve certification of all information technology systems onboard BERTHOLF.  Those efforts include TEMPEST (Information Assurance) testing and software scans by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). Work will continue to ensure that all systems receive proper certification prior to the cutter’s first operational deployment.  Anticipating that some installed classified communications systems may not be certified and accredited prior to a mid-June “sail-away” date, temporary “stand-alone” systems, as necessary, will be made available to the ship for the voyage to homeport.  No classified communications will occur over any system that has not met stringent Information Assurance standards (including TEMPEST certification).

In approximately one year, and following successful completion of these efforts, resolution of all trial cards and contract liens, and completion of the warranty period, the Coast Guard will execute final acceptance of the cutter.

The 418-foot BERTHOLF is the lead ship in the new Legend-class of cutters designed to be the flagship of the U.S. Coast Guard’s modern fleet.  Capable of executing the most challenging maritime safety and security missions around the globe, BERTHOLF is the first of eight national security cutters planned to be built by the Coast Guard.  The cutter’s fitting motto, “Legends Begin Here” was established on 26 June 2006.  BERTHOLF was christened on November 11, 2006, Veterans’ Day, and is named after Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, the first Commandant of today’s Coast Guard.  A formal commissioning ceremony is scheduled for August 4, 2008, in Alameda, Calif.

By Professional Mariner Staff