Eastern cuts steel for Coast Guard’s third OPC

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(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) — Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) on Monday commenced construction of U.S. Coast Guard cutter Ingham (WMSM-917), Hull 3 of the Heritage-class offshore patrol cutter (OPC) program.

The event was observed by leaders of the U.S. Coast Guard Project Resident Office at ESG’s Allanton Shipyard, where the first steel plates were cut by ESG personnel in the 103,000-square-foot steel and aluminum processing facility and transferred to the Nelson Street Shipyard for assembly and construction.

This milestone is yet another signal of growing momentum in the OPC program. The lead ship, USCGC Argus, is nearly fully assembled and remains on schedule and on budget. In May, the keel was laid for the second OPC, USCGC Chase, and all long-lead-time materials have been ordered for USCGC Hull 4.

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Eastern Shipbuilding Group photo

“We are excited to begin the construction of USCGC Ingham, the third vessel of the Heritage-class OPC program,” said Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group. “Our dedicated workers and subcontractors are delivering exceptional quality and speed every day. It is our highest priority to get these superior vessels to the men and women of the USCG so that they can carry out their important missions around the globe with greater capability and effectiveness.”

ESG fully rebuilt its operational facilities following Hurricane Michael in 2018 and also expanded them with over $42.5 million in infrastructure improvement investments. ESG dedicated its Nelson Street Shipyard exclusively to the OPC program to ensure an unimpeded and hot production line experienced in constructing OPCs. The company has completed a launchway conversion and is making associated dredging investments at the yard to have a facility capable of launching and delivering two OPC-sized vessels per year.

At its Allanton Shipyard, ESG has constructed a state-of-the-art C5ISR production facility to accomplish testing and integration of operational combat systems, equipment, and simulators on premises prior to final installation on the vessel. Later this year, ESG will commission a new aluminum superstructure fabrication and assembly hall at its Nelson Street facility.

The OPC is designed to conduct multiple missions in support of the nation’s maritime security and border protection. The OPC will provide a capability bridge between the national security cutter, which patrols the open ocean in the most demanding maritime environments, and the fast response cutter, which serves closer to shore. The OPC design includes the capability of carrying an MH-60 or MH-65 helicopter and three operational over-the-horizon small boats. The vessel is also equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system and C5ISR suite that will enhance capabilities to execute the service’s missions.

– Eastern Shipbuilding Group

By Professional Mariner Staff