Coast Guard Cutter Hickory Ready for Operations

Coast Guard Alaska News
HOMER, Alaska — The Coast Guard Cutter Hickory crew completed a ready for operations inspection Thursday in Homer, and is back in service following an extended maintenance period.

Coast Guard personnel conduct periodic inspections on their cutters, particularly after extended time at the pier. Following the Hickory’s three-month maintenance period in Long Beach, Calif., an inspection was required to ensure that the ship and her crew were fully capable of conducting all operations.

During the inspection, the crew performed numerous drills to demonstrate proficiency in responding to possible shipboard emergencies, including: man overboard, low visibility piloting, engine room fire, major flooding, and underwater hull damage. All of these scenarios required excellent ship handling and damage control skills, as well as outstanding teamwork from the crew.

“Although the inspection was a challenge, we train for these scenarios every day,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Bonner, an electrician’s mate on the Hickory. “After the initial stress, we quickly fell into our routine and performed just as we had been trained to do.”

In addition to the drills, the crew was required to demonstrate their ability to safely service a buoy. The aid to navigation of choice was Tutka Bay Buoy 2, and the service included replacing the buoy hull and an inspection of the chain, which secures the buoy to the sinker on the seabed. The crew once again demonstrated they could perform all areas of the mission with great skill and safety.

After a successful inspection, the crew of the Hickory was deemed ready for operations.

“The ship and crew are in excellent shape following their dockside maintenance,” said Cmdr. James Houck, chief of the Juneau-based RFO inspection team “The cutter and crew are ready, willing, and able to combat all casualties and continue their excellent service to the mariners of Alaska.”

The Hickory crew’s primary mission is servicing more than 170 aids to navigation throughout the region’s navigable waterways and ports, including Cook Inlet, the Shumagin Islands, Western Kodiak and the Kuskokwim River. The crew also conducts law enforcement, search and rescue, environmental response, and community outreach missions, and was deployed to the Arctic Ocean in 2012 in support of Operation Arctic Shield.

The Hickory, nicknamed “The Bull of the North,” is a 225-foot, sea-going buoy tender homeported in Homer.

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