VIDEO: Eastern Shipbuilding launches USCG’s first Heritage-class OPC

Written by Marine Log Staff
First Heritage-class OPC launches

Screengrab from video

Eastern Shipbuilding Group christened and launched USCGC Argus (WMSM-915), the U.S. Coast Guard’s first Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), in an October 27 ceremony held at its Nelson St. Shipyard in Panama City, Fla.

The ceremony was attended by more than 3,000 dignitaries and guests. Admiral Linda Fagan, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, delivered the keynote address, while ship sponsor, Captain (Ret.) Beverly Kelley, christened the first Heritage-class OPC, Argus. Captain Kelley was the first woman to command a U.S. military vessel as the commanding officer of the 95-foot patrol boat, USCGC Cape Newagen and was subsequently the first woman to command both a medium endurance cutter and a high endurance cutter.

“We are proud to christen this first of class national security asset in front of her crew today,” said Joey D’Isernia, CEO of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. “With each milestone we reach, our employees are constructing the most advanced and capable ship the U.S. Coast Guard has ever seen.”

“The Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) is one of the service’s highest acquisition priorities and is absolutely vital to recapitalizing the capability provided by our legacy fleet of 210-foot and 270- foot Medium Endurance Cutters (MEC),” said Adm. Fagan.

“We have overcome unprecedented challenges to arrive at this pivotal moment to witness this spectacular vessel enter the water for the very first time. People are only just beginning to see what this vessel is truly capable of and like the steel forged on her, we will not compromise,” said D’Isernia

“This first-in-its-class vessel is a testament to the great coordination between Eastern Shipbuilding and the Coast Guard that now gives the service a much needed upgrade with the tools and capabilities needed for the great women and men of the Coast Guard to take the service even further in the future,” said Senator Rick Scott. “As Florida’s U.S. Senator, I am fighting every day to support the continued success of Florida businesses and our Coast Guard as they work to ensure to safety and wellbeing of Americans across the nation.”

“The story of Offshore Patrol Cutter Argus is one of perseverance. Eastern Shipbuilding started working on Argus prior to Hurricane Michael. In the days that followed the storm, the Eastern Shipbuilding team returned to their yard ready to do their part,” said Rep. Neal Dunn. “Despite the challenges of recovering from a catastrophic hurricane, this team stuck together to see this project through. This offshore patrol cutter means so much more than many realize. Argus is a reminder of not only how proud Eastern Shipbuilding and Florida’s Second Congressional District should be of their hard work and determination, but it is also a crucial asset to maintaining national security dominance.”

Over 1,500 craft employees and program professionals at Eastern Shipbuilding Group and 200 businesses from over 25 states are supporting the production of the first four Offshore Patrol Cutters in Panama City. The OPC is designed to conduct an array of missions including law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction, search and rescue, disaster relief, and other homeland security and defense operations in support of the nation’s maritime security and border protection.

The first Heritage-class OPC is named for the Revenue Cutter Argus, which was one of the first 10 ships assigned to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, a predecessor service to the U.S. Coast Guard. Revenue Cutter Argus began 13 years of service to the newly formed United States of America in 1791.

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