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Coast Guard completes 140-foot icebreaking tug service life extension program

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Biscayne Bay leaves the Coast Guard Yard

Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay leaves the Coast Guard Yard Aug. 8, 2020. Biscayne Bay is the final vessel to complete the service life extension program through the Coast Guard’s in-serve vessel sustainment program.


The 140-foot icebreaking tug service life extension program (SLEP) marked a major milestone Aug. 8, when Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay departed the Coast Guard Yard for its St. Ignace, Michigan, homeport. Biscayne Bay is the ninth and final vessel to complete the SLEP through the service’s in-service vessel sustainment program.

Repairs and system replacements completed during the SLEP were designed to extend each cutter’s service life by 15 years at a total cost of about $13.5 million per hull. Several mission-critical systems were renewed during the program, including the cutter’s propulsion motor, small boat-launching davit, bubbler, steering, gyrocompass, closed circuit TV, electronic navigation package, and several crew habitability improvements. A redesign of the cutter’s engineering spaces was also included to provide more efficiency in operating the new bubbler equipment, which is used during icebreaking operations. Each vessel’s structural and piping systems were inspected and repaired during the availability. This extensive worklist took approximately one year to complete for each vessel.

Although all of the SLEP availabilities are complete, some work remains to correct recently identified issues. Coast Guard Cutter Sturgeon Bay will receive the prototype installation of an improved HVAC system that will increase the heating capacity. This work is being performed at the Coast Guard Yard and started Sept. 8. The remaining eight installations will be scheduled over the next three years.

For more information: In-Service Vessel Sustainment program page