May 4, 2020 —
Capt. Andrew Meverden, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter Project Resident Office in Panama City, Florida, holds a plaque authenticating the keel of Argus, the first offshore patrol cutter, April 28. Meverden joined leaders from Eastern Shipbuilding Group - from a safe social distance - to declare the keel of Argus to be “truly and fairly laid.
The Coast Guard and Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) authenticated the keel for the first offshore patrol cutter (OPC), Argus, in Panama City, Florida, April 28.
The keel authentication, a time-honored tradition in shipbuilding, was conducted by Joey D’Isernia, president of ESG, and Capt. Andrew Meverden, commanding officer of Coast Guard Project Resident Office Panama City. Bradley Remick, a welder with ESG, used a welding torch to apply the initials of the sponsor, retired U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Beverly Kelley, to the ceremonial plate, which declares the keel of Argus to be “truly and fairly laid.”
Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, and Kelley provided recorded remarks to mark the milestone. A video highlighting remarks from Schultz, Kelley and D’Isernia are available here.
Kelley received her commission after graduating from Officer Candidate School in 1976. In 1979, she became the first woman to command a military vessel, Coast Guard Cutter Cape Newagen, a 95-foot Cape Class patrol boat. During her distinguished career, Kelley also served as commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutters Northland in 1996 and Boutwell in 2000, also making her the first woman to command a medium endurance cutter and high endurance cutter. Kelley retired from military service in 2006.
The first 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 Coast Guard. Revenue Cutter Argus began 13 years of service to the newly formed United States of America in 1791. Of the 10 original cutters assigned to the Revenue Cutter Service, Argus spent the longest time in service.
Delivery of Argus is scheduled for 2022. The Coast Guard ordered construction of the second OPC and acquisition of long lead-time material for the third OPC April 2. Delivery of the second OPC, to be named Chase, is scheduled to occur in 2023.
The OPC acquisition program meets the service’s long-term need for cutters capable of deploying independently or as part of task groups and is essential to stopping smugglers at sea, interdicting undocumented migrants, rescuing mariners, enforcing fisheries laws, responding to disasters and protecting ports. The acquisition of 25 OPCs will complement the capabilities of the service’s national security cutters, fast response cutters and polar security cutters as an essential element of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered security strategy.
For more information: Offshore Patrol Cutter program page