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Coast Guard Yard removes two 27-ton engines as part of medium endurance cutter service life extension program


Workers at Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore remove a 27-ton main diesel engine from Coast Guard Cutter Spencer. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Charles Lortz, In-Service Vessel Sustainment Project Residence Office Baltimore. 

On Nov. 8, personnel at Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore achieved a milestone in the 270-foot medium endurance cutter service life extension program (SLEP) by safely removing the two main diesel engines from Coast Guard Cutter Spencer. The engines each weigh 54,000 pounds – or 27 tons – and this is the first lift of this weight that has been conducted at Coast Guard Yard in more than a decade. This also is the first time Yard personnel have removed an engine from a 270-foot medium endurance cutter.  

To gain the necessary access, workers removed the extendable aircraft hangar and cut through two decks. View a time-lapse video of the process here. 

While Coast Guard Cutters Seneca and Harriet Lane served as prototypes for the electrical and structural work and installation of a new gun weapons system, Spencer is the first Coast Guard Famous-class medium endurance cutter to receive all major SLEP work items, including replacement of the main diesel engines. The SLEP work will sustain the cutters’ capabilities, enabling them to meet mission needs until they are replaced by offshore patrol cutters. This program is part of the In-Service Vessel Sustainment (ISVS) Program, the Coast Guard’s strategic class-by-class evaluation of its vessels to determine what major maintenance and upgrades are necessary for each class of cutters to reach or extend their service lives.  

Spencer has been in service since June 1986, and the original engines provided nearly 90,000 hours of operational service prior to their removal. 

As the next phase in the SLEP, two new ALCO 251 engines will be installed. The engines removed from the Spencer will be remanufactured by Fairbanks Morse Defense and installed on the next medium endurance cutter to go through the SLEP, Coast Guard Cutter Campbell. 

Coast Guard Yard is the service's sole shipbuilding and major repair facility and part of the Coast Guard's core industrial base and fleet support operations. 

For more information:In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program page