Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Panama City, Fla., announced April 6 that the U.S. Coast Guard has given approval to Eastern to build a second Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and acquire long lead time materials for a third OPC. These moves follow the successful completion of a production readiness review in February.
“Today represents not only the continuation of production for the Coast Guard’s future replacement of their 210- and 270-foot class Medium Endurance Cutters, but also an important step in the continuing recovery of Northwest Florida and Eastern Shipbuilding Group post Hurricane Michael,” said Joey D’Isernia, Eastern president. “Looking back on the condition of our shipyard and our community immediately post Hurricane Michael in comparison to how far we have come, I could not be more proud of our team for what we have accomplished to date.
“We are excited about the future of this program and will continue to work diligently with our vendor network from 29 other states to produce high-quality, highly capable vessels for the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard.”
Hurricane Michael struck the Florida panhandle on October 10, 2018, causing widespread damage and closing the shipyard for several weeks.
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-60R or MH-65 helicopter and three operational Over-The-Horizon (OTH) small boats.
Caption for photo: The Offshore Patrol Cutter is designed to conduct multiple missions for the U.S. Coast Guard.