WMEC-282' CLASS Alex Haley
Rescue and salvage ships save battle damaged combat ships from further damage and tow them to safety. Rescue, salvage and towing ships provide rapid fire fighting, pumping, battle damage repair and rescue towing to warships in combat and tow them to repair ships or bases in safe areas. The Navy has responsibility for salvaging U.S. government owned ships and, when it is in the best interests of the United States, privately owned vessels as well.
Operating at sea in wartime, these ships are capable of performing limited defensive functions simultaneously while in Readiness Condition I. They are capable of performing other functions which are not required to be performed simultaneously. They maintain continuous Readiness Condition III at sea, and provide towing, salvage, rescue and diving services to fleet units. They can support conventional diving operations to a depth of 190 feet, and support mixed gas diving operations to a depth of 300 feet. When assigned a portable deep dive system, support diving operations to a depth of 850 feet. They provide the capability for a tidal lift of 300 short tons - and dynamic lift of 150 short tons, and are capable of providing compressed air for blowing a submarine free of flooding water from diving limit depth.
In October 1987 the salvage and rescue ship USS BEAUFORT (ATS-2) took part in a patrol as part of a multinational force stationed in the region to safeguard shipping during the war between Iraq and Iran. In 1991 USS BEAUFORT (ATS-2) was in the Gulf during mine-clearing operations following Operation Desert Storm. In October 1991 the salvage and rescue ship USS EDENTON (ATS-1) towed the battleship WISCONSIN (BB-64) as harbor tugs escorted the ship from port. The WISCONSIN, which was decommissioned on 30 September 1991, was being taken to the Philadelphia Shipyard`s Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility. In April 1992 the salvage and rescue ship USS BRUNSWICK (ATS-3) towed the large auxiliary floating dry dock MACHINIST (AFDB-8), which was relocated to Pearl Harbor during the U.S. military withdrawal from Subic Bay. In August 1992 a dry dock was towed from Naval Station, Subic Bay, by the salvage and rescue ship USS BEAUFORT (ATS-2) as ordnance and equipment was removed in preparation for the station`s closure. Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority assumed control of the area after the U.S. Navy relinquishes the station.
Commissioned in 1971 as the USS EDENTON (ATS-1), the ship was transferred to the Coast Guard in November 1997, for conversion into a medium endurance cutter (WMEC-210' CLASS). She was renamed after the first Coast Guard Journalist and famous author, Alex Haley, in 1999. Coast Guard Cutters are classed according to the length of the ship's hull, and while the hull of the ATS-1 was 283 feet, the Alex Haley was nonetheless classed as a medium endurance cutter (WMEC-210'). The obvious visual differences resulting from the conversion included removal of the forward crane, as well as the aft crane with supporting superstructure and mast. The flight deck extended the "O1 level" nearly back to the stern. The cutter's primary mission is fisheries enforcement in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific.
To memorialize his contributions to the Coast Guard and to the nation, the Coast Guard named a medium-endurance cutter after its first chief journalist, Alex Haley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Roots. The Coast Guard commissioned the Coast Guard cutter ALEX HALEY on Saturday, July 10th, 1999 at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore. The Yard completed an 18-month, $20 million overhaul of the 282-foot Alex Haley, formerly the USS Edenton, a Navy rescue and salvage vessel. Yard workers upgraded the cutter for habitability and environmental compliance, installed a new electronics system and emergency diesel generator, improved the mechanical systems and installed a flight deck for helicopter landings.
The Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley is based in Kodiak, Alaska, where it conducts the Coast Guard missions of search and rescue and fisheries law enforcement in the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and the North Pacific. The Alex Haley is the first military vessel named for a journalist. Haley, died in 1992, and had a long and distinguished career as both a journalist and a novelist, and began writing as a hobby while assigned as a steward aboard various cutters during World War II. As word spread of his talent, the Coast Guard assigned Haley to its New York public affairs office where he served as the Coast Guard's first chief journalist, penning stories about Coast Guard rescues and developing his trademark writing style. He credited much of his success to the discipline and training he received in the Coast Guard.
As of June 2000, all WMEC-210 platforms, including CGC Alex Haley, have been updated to the SCCS-210 version 1.0.0 baseline. In December 1999, a USCG HQ Configuration Control Board (CCB) chose to interface the AN/SPS-73 SSR with the COMDAC INS software, similar to the SCCS-270 platforms, and providing a new ECDIS functionality. This system concept was proven during the Paragon Smartship initiative conducted on CGC Dependable. During April 2000 funding was appropriated to provide this baseline change, designated SCCS-210 version 1.2.0. Throughout summer 2000, C2CEN selected and procured hardware to allow expansion of the SCCS-210 suite with an additional QMOW flatscreen console. During late FY2000, the Coast Guard Yard conducted these upgrades to the SCCS-210 system, combining many installations with the AN/SPS-73 installations. Return Yard visits were conducted for those SCCS-210 platforms already in receipt of the AN/SPS-73.
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