On October 17, the Coast Guard successfully closed the eighth and final starred trial card for the USCGC Bertholf. The closure of all eight starred trial cards fulfills a crucial requirement for final acceptance of the first National Security Cutter and marks a significant milestone in preparing the Bertholf for deployment. Starred trial cards identify critical deficiencies that, if left unresolved, negatively affect mission performance (normal trial cards identify important but less urgent discrepancies). The final critical deficiency was Machinery Control and Monitoring System (MCMS) software that required upgrades and repairs to better communicate with the diesel propulsion system. The upgraded system operated smoothly during the Bertholf’s transit to Alameda and further underway testing confirms the deficiency has been properly addressed.
The Bertholf is currently in its one year post-delivery warranty period. Final acceptance will occur when this period has concluded and all outstanding trial cards are resolved.
The eight starred trial cards were identified during acceptance trials, which were supervised by the U.S. Navy Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The Coast Guard selected INSURV to conduct the trials because of its extensive naval technical and engineering expertise. More than 80 INSURV representatives thoroughly examined and evaluated the shipboard systems, construction and adherence to contractual requirements and specifications established by the Coast Guard.
To resolve the starred trial cards, the Coast Guard worked closely with the vendors to identify solutions and test and validate satisfactory resolution of those critical deficiencies. To oversee the resolution of all trial cards (starred and normal), the Coast Guard convened a trial card screening conference after each trial period to determine responsibility for the resolution of each generated trial card (either industry or government) and ensure that any trial cards not resolved prior to preliminary acceptance were recorded in the Material Inspection and Receiving Report, or DD250.
The generation of only eight starred trial cards is significant, since most Navy first-in-class vessels generate substantially more starred trial cards. INSURV acknowledged in its report that the low number of critical deficiencies was a “testament to the superb quality assurance oversight provided during ship construction and testing by the USCG Project Manager’s Representative Office (PMRO) and the Navy Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SOS) Gulf Coast.”