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Coast Guard authenticates keel for third offshore patrol cutter


Keel for third OPC is authenticated

Karlier Robinson, welder from Eastern Shipbuilding Group, welds the sponsors initials onto a ceremonial plate during the offshore patrol cutter keel authentication ceremony June 15, 2022. The keel authentication signifies the start of the ship’s life. Photo courtesy of Eastern Shipbuilding Group.

The Coast Guard and Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) authenticated the keel for the third offshore patrol cutter (OPC), Ingham, in Panama City, Florida, July 15.

The keel authentication, a time-honored tradition in shipbuilding, was conducted by Rear Adm. Chad Jacoby and Joey D’Isernia, ESG president. Karlier Robinson, a welder with ESG, applied the initials of the sponsor, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, to the ceremonial plate, which declares the keel of Ingham to be “truly and fairly laid.”

The third OPC will carry a name that dates back to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, a predecessor service to the Coast Guard. The first ship to be named Ingham, after then-Secretary of the Treasury Samuel D. Ingham, was a 74-foot Revenue Cutter Service vessel commissioned in 1832. The cutter’s motto was “Semper Paratus,” which the Coast Guard adopted as its service motto in 1896.

The last cutter to bear the name Ingham was WHEC 35, which operated from 1936 to 1988. During World War II, Ingham was responsible for sinking an adversarial U-boat that was threatening convoy operations in the Atlantic Ocean. Ingham also deployed to service in the Vietnam War, where it earned two Presidential Unit Citations. After the Vietnam War, Ingham returned to regular Coast Guard duties. When Ingham was decommissioned in 1988, it was the oldest and most decorated cutter in the Coast Guard and the second oldest warship still in operation. The WHEC Ingham is now a historic landmark and museum ship in Key West, Florida.

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.

Delivery of Ingham is scheduled for 2025. Four OPCs are currently in production.

For more information: Offshore Patrol Cutter Program page