U.S. Coast Guard cutter Orcas

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Orcas

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COOS BAY — Though the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives had hoped for the change to happen this summer or sooner, the de-commissioning of the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat Orcas will take much longer.

The Coast Guard announced last week that the Orcas will be taken off-line in 2021 when two new fast response cutters are deployed in Astoria. The 154-foot cutters will replace smaller, 1980s-era patrol boats that are nearing the end of service.

The two new Sentinel-Class Fast Response Cutters (FRC) have not been named yet, but the FRCs are named after enlisted Coast Guard personnel who distinguished themselves in the line of duty.

Astoria, which was designated a "Coast Guard City" in 2010, had been competing with Newport for the two cutters.

A Coast Guard press release stated: “Each of the two Astoria-based FRCs will provide the coastal maritime community with a 30-percent increase in annual operating hours on regional waters over the Coast Guard’s legacy 110-foot Island class patrol boats like the Coast Guard Cutter Orcas, homeported in Coos Bay, Oregon.”

The cutters are designed to patrol coastal areas, with an endurance of five days and a maximum speed of 28 knots.

The Orcas will remain in operation in Coos Bay until taken off-line in 2021.

The first fast response cutter based on the West Coast was the John McCormick in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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