Electrical fire delays patrol by 49-year-old USCG cutter

An electrical fire on a Coast Guard cutter in Wilmington, N.C., has delayed its departure for a multi-mission patrol to the Caribbean.

While preparing to leave at approximately 9 a.m.,Thursday, the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence's general emergency alarm began to sound, alerting the crew to a fire in the engine room. The crew quickly responded and upon investigation, the crew found an electrical fire on one of the ship's generators.

"It is disappointing and professionally frustrating when after months of hard work maintaining our cutter and conducting, training something like a fire prevents us from achieving full operational potential," said Cmdr. Douglas Goodwin, the commanding officer aboard the Diligence. "Fortunately, no one was injured, and the crew's response prevented damage from spreading. The crew will continue to work hard to restore our aging cutter to fully mission capable status as soon as possible in order to provide critical persistent presence in the maritime domain."

During the ship's last tour, the crew had to return three weeks early due to a casualty to a another generator.

"The Coast Guard's existing fleet is reaching a point where some vessels are no longer capable of reliably or effectively performing operations resulting in unexpected casualties and lost patrol days as evident today with the cutter Diligence," said Ensign Andrew Price, the public affairs officer aboard the Diligence.

The 49-year-old Diligence and the other medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by a new class of cutters, the Offshore Patrol Cutter.

March 30, 2012