US Coast Guard Receives Its 1st Fast Response Cutter Bernard C. Webber
The U.S. Coast Guard took delivery of its first fast response cutter, the Bernard C. Webber, Friday in Miami.Webber is the first of 58 planned Sentinel Class patrol boats replacing the Coast Guard’s venerable but aging Island Class patrol boat fleet.
“Consistent with the Sentinel Class name, the cutter Webber will guard our coasts and its citizens and protect the nation’s vital maritime interests,” said Rear Adm. Karl Schultz, Coast Guard director of governmental and public affairs.
Patrol boats like Webber are the workhorses of America’s littoral maritime fleet. Possessing superior speed and flexibility, Coast Guard patrol boats deliver the Coast Guard’s unique blend of military capability, law enforcement authority and lifesaving expertise wherever needed along the coast. The Sentinel Class patrol boat is one of many critical recapitalization efforts the Coast Guard is managing to responsibly rebuild the capabilities that make the service our nation’s frontline maritime first responder.
“The United States is a maritime nation that depends heavily on the sea for commerce, security, sustenance and recreation and the new fast response cutter is an essential element of the Coast Guard’s offshore and coastal presence that America requires to protect its maritime interests,” said Schultz.
The Sentinel Class patrol boats carry the names of enlisted Coast Guard heroes to honor a long line of Coast Guard men and women who have distinguished themselves since the establishment of the nation’s Revenue Marine in 1790.
Bernie Webber, namesake of the fast response cutter Webber, led a crew of three Coast Guardsmen aboard a 36-foot rescue boat, in 60-foot seas, to rescue 33 mariners from the wreckage of the tanker Pendleton near Chatham, Mass, in 1952. The skill and bravery he and his crew demonstrated that stormy evening epitomizes what it means to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard and are demonstrate the service’s values of honor, respect and devotion to duty. The men and women of the Coast Guard still staff a nation-wide network of boat stations – just as Bernie Webber and his crew did – performing extraordinary life-saving and security operations for the nation.
The 154-foot fast response cutter is capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and operating in seas up to 20-feet. It’s armed with a remotely-operated and stabilized 25-mm chain gun plus four, .50 caliber machine guns, modern C4ISR equipment, four-person berthing areas and a crew of 21 enlisted personnel and three officers.
The Bernard C. Webber will be homeported in Miami and is scheduled for commissioning April 14. The Coast Guard’s first six fast response cutters will be stationed in Miami. Plans call for the first 18 fast response cutters to be homeported throughout the Southeast U.S. and Caribbean.
World Maritime News Staff, February 14, 2012