HII lays keel for eighth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter

Huntington Ingalls Industries announced on Friday that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel of the eighth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter, Midgett (WMSL 757).

The ship is named to honor John Allen Midgett, who was awarded the silver cup by the U.K. Board of Trade in 1918 for the renowned rescue of 42 British sailors aboard the British tanker Mirlo after it was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of North Carolina.

Jazania O’Neal, Midgett’s granddaughter and the ship’s sponsor, spoke on Friday, proclaiming Midgett’s keel to be “truly and fairly laid.” O’Neal’s initials were welded onto a keel plate by Jack Beard, a structural welder at Ingalls.

“For my grandfather to be memorialized as the namesake for this ship, in the company of the seven other Legend-class ship namesakes, surpasses validation of our heritage on a worldwide scale,” O’Neal said. “We wish you well throughout the remaining construction of this fine ship, and we look forward to seeing you at the christening.”

“The National Security Cutter Program is vital to our Coast Guard, our country and to Ingalls Shipbuilding,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. “Today, we lay the foundation upon which this great ship will be built. The Midgett, like her sister ships, is being built to the highest quality standards with outstanding cost and schedule performance, and the NSC team is energized to make this one the best yet.”

Ingalls has delivered six NSCs to the U.S. Coast Guard, and two more are currently under construction. In addition to Midgett, the seventh NSC, Kimball (WMSL 756), is scheduled to deliver in 2018. In December 2016, Ingalls received a $486 million fixed-price incentive contract from the U.S. Coast Guard to build a ninth National Security Cutter.

Legend-Class National Security Cutters are the flagships of the U.S. Coast Guard. They are the most technologically advanced ships in the Coast Guard’s fleet, with capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement and national security missions.

NSCs are 418 feet long with a 54-foot beam and displace 4,500 tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120. The Legend class of cutters plays an important role in enhancing the Coast Guard’s operational readiness, capacity and effectiveness.