PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The latest ship built at Ingalls Shipyard will soon begin fulfilling its mission to protect our nation's borders. After three years of construction, a ceremony was held in Pascagoula Monday to mark the delivery of the National Security Cutter Hamilton to the U.S. Coast Guard.
"Whether it is U.S. Navy or Coast Guard, turning plates of steel into a living, breathing ship years down the road gives us an unbelievable pride," Ship Program Manager Derek Murphy said.
The Coast Guard Cutter is longer than a football field and holds a crew of around 118. If you think the outside is amazing, take a look inside. There's damage control where you can find the emergency response team.
"They respond to any ship causalities, fire, flooding, whatever it may be. And they also help ensure the ship is safe," Chief Damage Controlman Brandon Pryor explained.
Then there's the engine control room that is filled with all types of high tech computers and controls to help command the ship.
"Without somebody inside the space at all times while we are underway and conducting operations, we don't go forward," Pryor said.
The cutter also has a gym inside for the crew to stay in shape while at sea.
"When you are out there four to six months out of a year, you have to be able to continue to work out and maintain that physical fitness. A lot of our platforms don't have this luxury."
Commander Steve Matadobra agrees this vessel is state-of-the-art. He said it's just what the crew needs to carry out the search and rescue, law enforcement and counter drug missions that help keep our country safe.
"Given the war on drugs and the capabilities of the ship, Ingalls produced an amazing boat. It was built with a lot of comforts in mind, but also the ability to do some of the missions both here and throughout the world. It is incredible."
The vessel bears the name of founding father Alexander Hamilton. He is credited with establishing the Revenue Cutter Service, which is considered the forerunner of the Coast Guard.
The crew plans to spend another 45 days in Pascagoula doing some additional work and training on the ship. The Hamilton will eventually be stationed in Charleston, South Carolina.