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ESG Holds Keel-Laying for Second Offshore Patrol Cutter

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Image courtesy Adm. Karl Schultz / USCG

Published May 25, 2021 3:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) held the keel authentication ceremony for the next U.S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), USCGC Chase. Admiral Karl Schultz, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chair and ship sponsor, delivered remarks to mark the occasion.

“Here at Eastern we start each day with the recognition that we are building a new era of cutters for the young women and men of the United States Coast Guard who will sail in them on critical National Security missions for decades to come. From our thirteen hundred family members to your nearly 60,000 active duty, reserve, and civilian workforce . . . our pledge remains the same – these cutters will always get you home,” said ESG President Joey D’Isernia.

The cutter honors previous namesake vessels including those named after Salmon Portland Chase, former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, governor, and antislavery leader. 

Image courtesy Adm. Karl Schultz / USCG

The keel-laying ceremony represents the start of a ship’s life by commemorating the assembly of the first modular construction units. Historically, to attest that the keel was properly laid, the shipbuilder would carve their initials into the keel. This practice is commemorated today by welding the ship’s sponsor’s initials into the keel authentication plate.

Last month, ESG was awarded a contract to begin construction of the third hull in the OPC series, the future USCGC Ingham, and to purchase long-lead-time materials for the fourth hull. The OPC - the Coast Guard's largest single procurement program in history - fills a niche between the national security cutter, which is designed for long range open ocean missions, and the fast response cutter, which serves a patrol and SAR function closer to shore.