NSC Hamilton successfully completes builder's trials in Gulf (VIDEO)

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The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) — The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday that its fourth national security cutter, Hamilton, successfully completed builder’s trials in Pascagoula, Miss., marking a significant step in preparing Hamilton for delivery to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Builder’s trials are the shipbuilder’s first opportunity to operate the cutter at sea and survey the current status of shipboard systems.

"Hamilton is a magnificent ship in every respect," said Capt. Doug Fears, Hamilton's prospective commanding officer. "Hamilton's crew is both humbled and honored to have the unique opportunity to breathe life into this great ship, and to sail her to the new home port of Charleston, S.C."

While underway, Ingalls’ test and trials team conducted extensive testing of the propulsion, electrical, damage control, anchor handling, small boat operations and combat systems. This culminated in the successful completion of a four-hour, full-power propulsion run.

“The ship and the Ingalls/Coast Guard team performed flawlessly,” said Richard Schenk, Ingalls’ vice president, program management and test and trials. “Our operating crew performed more than 180 events and showed tremendous professionalism. The ship is clearly ready for acceptance trials in August.”

Preparations for acceptance trials, conducted by the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey, can now begin with the successful completion of the builder’s trials. Acceptance trials are the final significant milestone before delivery and are used to ensure the cutter meets all contractual requirements. The U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey will evaluate all aspects of Hamilton’s systems and performance. Based upon their findings, a recommendation will be made regarding acceptance of Hamilton to the Coast Guard.

The ship is named in honor of Alexander Hamilton, who articulated the need for the Revenue Cutter Service in the Federalist Papers and then established it as the first secretary of treasury, the forerunner of today's U.S. Coast Guard. It is the sixth Coast Guard cutter to bear the name Hamilton.

Hamilton is the fourth of eight planned national security cutters and the first to be home ported on the East Coast. At 418 feet and 4,500 tons, the lead ship in the new Legend class of national security cutters and is designed to be the flagship of the U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet, capable of executing the most challenging maritime security missions including supporting the mission requirements of U.S. combatant commanders.

The fifth national security cutter, James, and sixth, Munro, are currently in production at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. The James is scheduled to be christened on Aug. 16, 2014 and will ultimately be homeported in Charleston, S.C., with Hamilton. Fabrication of the Munro officially commenced Oct. 7, 2013.

The production contract for the seventh NSC, Kimball, was awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries on March 31, 2014.

The largest and most technologically advanced of the Coast Guard’s newest classes of cutters, the NSCs replace the aging 378-foot high endurance cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. Compared to legacy cutters, the NSCs’ design provides better sea-keeping and higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and the ability to launch and recover small boats from astern, as well as aviation support facilities and a flight deck for helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Click here to see a video of Hamilton's sea trial.

By Professional Mariner Staff