Sept. 14 (UPI) — The U.S. Coast Guard cutter NSC Stone successfully completed its builder’s trials at sea, shipmaker Huntington Ingalls Industries announced on Monday.
The Legend-class cutter, also known as the National Security Cutter — or Maritime Security Cutter, Large — spent three days in the Gulf of Mexico after leaving its building dock in Pascagoula, Miss., to test propulsion systems and auxiliary and other on-board systems.
The vessel is the ninth of 11 planned new cutters for the Coast Guard, which has been working to upgrade its fleet since 2008.
Safety precautions, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced the number of those on board for the builder’s trials by one-third, and cleaning protocols were increased aboard the ship.
The NSC Stone was launched in October 2019 and formally christened in February 2020.
The NSC cutters are the largest, most technologically advanced ship in the Coast Guard’s fleet. The vessels will be used for maritime and homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions.
NSCs are 418 feet long with a top speed of 28 knots [32.2 mph], a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120, Huntington Ingalls said.