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Sentinel Class vessel to be based in Ketchikan

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The U.S. Coast Guard received a new cutter — which will be based in Ketchikan — from the builder earlier this week.

The Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards delivered the fast response cutter John McCormick to the Coast Guard on Tuesday in Key West, Florida. 

The 154-foot ship is the 21st of 58 Sentinel Class vessels that are planned for the Coast Guard as replacements for the 110-foot Island Class boats.

According to Bollinger information, the company “used a proven, in-service parent craft design based on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708” for the fast response cutters.

The ships have a maximum speed of more than 28 knots and a range of about 2,875 miles, according to Coast Guard information. The FRCs carry a 26-foot small boat, which is launched from an FRC’s stern.

The FRCs are armed with a stabilized 25-mm machine gun mount and four .50-caliber machine guns, according to the Coast Guard.

“We are very proud that the FRCs already in commission have seized multiple tons of narcotics, interdicted thousands of illegal aliens and saved many lives,” Bollinger President and CEO Ben Bordelon said in an announcement. “ We are also very proud of the fact that our FRC program has surpassed all historical quality benchmarks resulting in truly exceptional vessels that will serve our nation for many years to come.”

The John McCormick is scheduled to be commissioned in Ketchikan in April.

The cutter is named after Coast Guard member John McCormick, who was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal in 1938.

On March 26, 1938, McCormick, who was a boatswain serving as officer-in-charge of a wooden, 52-foot motor lifeboat based at Coast Guard Station Point Adams in Oregon, helps save a crewman who was washed overboard, according to Coast Guard information.

“Acting with exceptional skill, McCormick maneuvered the lifeboat against a strong current and into the breakers to pick up the drowning man,” according to Coast Guard News.

The John McCormick is one of two fast response cutters that are scheduled to be based in Ketchikan. The other vessel, the Bailey T. Barco, is the next FRC scheduled for delivery to the Coast Guard.