The U.S. Coast Guard conducted preliminary acceptance of the second National Security Cutter, Waesche (WMSL 751), at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., on Nov. 6, 2009. Preliminary acceptance represents the official transfer from the shipbuilder to the Coast Guard and is a major milestone in Waesche’s transition to full operational status in the Coast Guard’s fleet.
Today’s delivery allows the Waesche to enter“In-Commission Special” status prior to formal commissioning. The Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Acquisition, Rear Adm. Ronald J. Rábago, presided over the ceremony on the cutter’s flight deck. “In-Commission Special” status, which begins when the Coast Guard’s crew formally takes possession of the vessel and moves aboard the cutter, indicates the cutter is not performing regular operations but is engaged in crew training and equipment testing prior to beginning normal operations. Waesche’s departure from Pascagoula is scheduled for late December.
“Hundreds of people have poured themselves into the acquisition and construction of this fine ship over the past three plus years. We have been chosen to take this brand new, major national asset to sea to prepare her for a lifetime of service in public safety and national security,” said Capt. Lance Bardo, Waesche’s prospective commanding officer.
Preliminary acceptance also marks the signing of the Material Inspection and Receiving Report, known as a DD250. The signed DD250 represents conditional acceptance of the cutter by the Coast Guard. It formally documents the cutter’s inspection, delivery by the shipbuilder and receipt by the government. The DD250 also notes any outstanding discrepancies or work items requiring resolution before final acceptance. Final acceptance of Waesche will occur following a year-long warranty period and completion of final acceptance trials.
During the recently completed acceptance trials, the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) recommended acceptance and described Waesche as “a very clean and capable platform,” meeting or exceeding readiness expectations. The positive results of Waesche’s acceptance trials reflect lessons learned from the first National Security Cutter, Bertholf (WMSL 750).
The 418-foot Waesche is the second ship in the new Legend-class of cutters designed to be the flagship of the Coast Guard’s modernized fleet. Eight cutters are planned for the class. More information on the National Security Cutter program can be found online at: http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/nsc/default.asp.