The U.S. Coast Guard broke ground on an expansion of its Los Angeles-Long Beach sector base in San Pedro on Wednesday, July 28, which officials said will eventually hold two new cutters and nearly double its staff.
The approximately $35 million expansion project includes a 257-foot extension of its pier to accommodate one of its new 360-foot cutters and the building of a Naval Engineering Department facility. The project will improve the Coast Guard across the spectrum of its missions, which include protecting the ports, one of the nation’s most important economic zones, said Vice Adm. Michael McAllister, Pacific area commander.
“The facility expansion and upgrades here at base Los Angeles-Long Beach are vital for the Coast Guard’s continued ability to be ready, relevant and responsive where the missions matter most close to home and far abroad,” he said during a Wednesday groundbreaking ceremony.
The project is slated to be finished in October 2022, which is a few months before the two new cutters – Argus and Chase – are also expected to be completed. The federal government each year allocates funds for projects, which is the source of the base’s expansion, McAllister said.
The base, which sits on Terminal Island, oversees 350 miles of coastline from Morro Bay to Dana Point. The sector’s responsibilities include that area’s law enforcement, marine safety, search and rescue, and drug and migrant interdiction.
The base currently has approximately 500 employees, which will nearly double by the time the expansion is finished, McAllister said.
The new cutters will join the base’s fleet of four 154-foot fast response cutters and a 175-foot buoy tender. Argus and Chase will be the first cutters of their kind to join the Coast Guard’s fleet across the nation, said Capt. Rebecca Ore, commanding officer of the Los Angeles-Long Beach sector.
“This is just a state-of-the-art platform, we are combining the most capable design with sensors and systems, and taking advantage of 21st-century technology to just have a more capable asset,” she said. “The ability to build ships that really extend our legs at sea and the time we can be out there, and integrate with our partners to have a more effective presence, interdiction capability and search-and-rescue capability is huge.”
The new technology on the two cutters will help the Coast Guard navigate through tough seas and communicate more easily during missions, officials said. They could also deploy globally, anywhere from the nation’s West Coast to Central or Southern America, Oceania or the Arctic, McAllister said.
Source: Orange County Register