Coast Guard cutter answers buoys’ call for cleaning

BALTIMORE - Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter JAMES RANKIN hoist a buoy from Baltimore Harbor, Feb. 9, 2011.  The 175-foot buoy tender is responsible for maintaining more than 400 buoys in the Chesapeake Bay area.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tasha Tully.BALTIMORE – Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter James Rankin, a 175-foot coastal buoy tender homeported in Baltimore, conducted routine buoy maintenance in Baltimore Harbor Wednesday.

Federal aids to navigation are required to be inspected annually to ensure they are functioning properly, in their correct position and marking safe water for ships to navigate.

The Rankin is responsible for maintaining more than 400 aids to navigation in the Chesapeake Bay area and is multi-mission capable. Besides servicing aids to navigation, the Rankin can perform missions such as search and rescue, marine environmental protection, maritime law enforcement and domestic ice breaking.

The Rankin was deployed in support of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response to assist in oil recovery efforts with its vessel of opportunity skimming system.

The Rankin was constructed in Marinette, Wis., and commissioned May 1, 1999.

The Coast Guard’s responsibility for aids to navigation can be traced back to 1939, when the federal government merged the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Lighthouse Service.

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