The Manitowoc Company
, Inc. has launched the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Fir, the thirteenth ship in a series of 16 seagoing buoy tenders being built at Manitowoc's Marinette Marine subsidiary. This 225-ft. Juniper-class vessel is part of a series of contracts that were awarded to Marinette in 1993 and 1998.
"Like its sister vessels, the Fir contains the most advanced technology available for buoy tenders," said Terry D. Growcock, Manitowoc's president and chief executive officer. "We believe the new FIR is as strong as Manitowoc's commitment to the U.S. Coast Guard and will serve with the same uncompromising dedication as its predecessor."
The launch ceremony, which took place August 18, featured Vice Admiral Thomas J. Barrett, Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, as the keynote speaker. His wife, Sheila Barrett, the sponsor of the ship, performed the traditional christening ceremony.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter FIR will operate from Astoria, Oregon, under the command of LCDR Hal Pitts. It will have a complement of six officers and 34 enlisted personnel. FIR and her sister cutters now operating in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are equipped to perform search and rescue, law enforcement, pollution response, and domestic icebreaking missions, as well as servicing aids to navigation.
The USCGC FIR is named after an earlier Coast Guard cutter. The original FIR, which served the United States from 1939 through 1991, was stationed in Puget Sound
. The FIR took part in several rescues -- most notably, the 19-member crew of the steamship Andalusia in 1949 -- before she was decommissioned after 52 years of service.
In addition to its buoy tender construction program for the U.S. Coast Guard, Marinette Marine is constructing three 310-foot passenger ferries for the City of New York and two 127-foot oceangoing tugs for a commercial customer. In October 2001, the company was awarded an $82.4 million contract to build a new Great Lakes icebreaker that will replace the USCGC MACKINAW.