WMEC 230' Storis Class
The medium endurance cutter Storis is a 230 foot tender that was commissioned in September, 1942. As the oldest cutter, STORIS is known as the "Queen of the Fleet" and wears gold hull numbers to note this distinction.
Her design was derived from the 180 foot class and she resembled those vessels in profile. However, she was nearly double their tonnage and given a third more horsepower in her diesel engines. (All the 180s and Storis were powered by diesels operating generators for single electric motors.)
The Storis performs various missions such as law enforcement of fishing regulations, community services to remote villages, and search & rescue. The Storis ventures from Kodiak to the panhandle of southern Alaska all the way up into the Bering Sea. Storis also visits such ports as Juneau, Dutch Harbor, Adak, Valdez, and other Alaska cities and villages.
Though her keel was laid prior to the U.S. entry into World War II (July, 1941), Storis was designed as a supply vessel for Greenland, an island possession of Denmark. During World War II, Storis was the command ship for a fleet of patrol boats in the Greenland Patrols which guarded the coast of Greenland from the establishment of German weather stations. This northern island was vital to the protection of Allied Atlantic convoys, and proved to be vulnerable to Nazi encroachments early in the war. As the war progressed, the Storis and other Coast Guard vessels played a key role in maintaining the security and usefulness of this island.
On September 15, 1948 Storis reassigned to Juneau, Alaska where it participated in the Bering Sea Patrol . It's duties included delivering medical, dental, and judicial services to isolated native villages in far reaches of the territory. At the same time, STORIS assisted in establishing Alaskan Long Range Aids To Navigation (LORAN) stations, delivered supplies for the defense early warning system (DEWLINE) and conducted hydrographic surveys in the uncharted central Arctic Sea.
In 1957, Storis departed Seattle in with the Coast Guard cutters BRAMBLE and SPAR to circumnavigate the continent and to collect hydrographic information. This historic transit established a Northwest Passage - a route for large ships across the top of North America. Upon its return from Greenland, STORIS became the first U.S. flagged vessel to circumnavigate the North American continent. Shortly after its return, STORIS reassigned to its new home in Kodiak, Alaska.
During the 1960's and 70's, Storis' missions shifted to enforcing laws and treaties governing foreign and domestic fishing operations in the abundant fishing grounds of the Bering Sea. In 1972, Storis changed its designation from ice breaker to medium endurance cutter (WMEC) reflecting this change in mission. Despite the emphasis on law enforcement, Storis can also use its icebreaking capabilities, such as when it assisted tugs and barges which carried vital supplies to the Prudhoe Bay oilfields in 1975.
Storis' hull was built with 7/8" thick steel to withstand the rigors of ice breaking, this combined with the preservative action of the cold Alaska water leaves STORIS with an exceptionally strong hull for her age. In 1986, Storis completed a major maintenance availability when its main engines were replaced and living quarters expanded. With a strong hull and new engines, Storis is destined to be part of the Alaskan scene for many years to come.
Today Storis patrols Alaskan waters on search and rescue and law enforcement missions.
The Storis herself was capable of many missions, not the least of which was icebreaking: escort duty, patrol work, buoy tending, and medium endurance cruising. Currently, the Storis is not certified for icebreaking duty, and has been classified as a WMEC since July 1, 1972.
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