USCGC Elderberry back in service
Engineering Petty Officer Cameron Peterson stands aboard the USCGC Elderberry now out of dry-dock and back into service after 12 weeks of maintenance.
The United States Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry came out of dry dock May 7 after 12 weeks of scheduled maintenance. This maintenance was performed at the Base Support Unit Ketchikan Marine Ways.
USCGC Elderberry is a 65 foot buoy tender that goes into dry dock every two years.
“We always have a long-range maintenance plan in place,” Engineering Petty Officer Cameron Peterson said. “We replaced about 60 square foot of hull this time.”
Approximately four years ago there were several small hull erosions found that were double plated at the time to last until the next dry dock.
Other major repairs that were made were to the propulsion shafts. “The shafts had grooves in them,” Peterson said. “We sent them to Seattle for welding.”
Inspections of the hull, clearance, rudders and shafting were performed as well as zinc replacement.
“Zinc is a sacrificial metal used on the hull,” Peterson said. “The zinc will degrade instead of the hull itself.”
The crane was tested and has a working load limit of 4,000 pounds, the buoy deck was painted and the engine room was insulated for sound.
“When we are underway the sound from the engines are so loud we have to wear ear protection,” Peterson said. “With this new insulation, the sound is muffled enough that we don't have to wear the protection anymore.”
The USCGC Elderberry makes use of two GM Detroit Diesel engines; three fuel tanks, the forward and center tanks have a 680 gallon capacity and the aft tank has a 645 gallon capacity. The vessel has the ability to travel 600 nautical miles at max speed and 1500 nautical miles at economical speed and runs at 10.5 knots per hour max and 5 knots at economical.
The main assignment for the USCGC Elderberry is to maintain channel buoys.
“Our first assignment out of dry dock was a discrepant buoy,” Peterson said. “One of the buoys in Keku Strait was pulled off station and we had to put it back.”
There are two 65 foot buoy tenders in operation. The USCGC Elderberry that is stationed permanently in Petersburg and another in South Carolina.
“The good thing about a smaller vessel is the ability to maneuver in shallower waters,” Peterson said.
This cutter has billeting capacity for eight crew members with a crew count of 10 being assigned to the Elderberry.
“When we go out, eight of us go on the detail,” Peterson stated. “Two members of the crew stay behind and help with other assignments.”
The jobs for this vessel are scheduled and the crew usually spends three to four days at a time on the cutter.