The USCG Cutters Vigilant and Unimack had colorful careers and were prominent fixtures at New Bedford State Pier. First built and commissioned by the U. S. Navy in 1943 as a Barnegat Class Small Seaplane Tender, she served during WWII and saw action in the Caribbean. After the war she was transferred to the U. S. Coast Guard and performed duty on weather stations, fisheries, immigration, and drug interdiction patrols. She also served as a training vessel for reservists, U. S. Coast Guard Academy Cadets, and OCS Candidates. She was returned to the U. S. Navy in 1988 for decommissioning and final disposition. After serving her country and humanity for 45 years with dignity and pride, the U. S. Navy sunk her in 150 feet of water off the coast of Virginia to act as an artificial reef, where she continues her tradition of service by providing a habitat for wide variety of marine life. USCGC VIGILANT (WMEC 617) is the third of the Coast Guards RELIANCE class medium endurance cutters. She is the twelfth cutter to bear the name VIGILANT, dating back to 1790 when the original VIGILANT was built for the Revenue Cutter Service. The present VIGILANT was commissioned on October 3, 1964 at Todd Shipyard in Houston, Texas at a cost of 2.3 million dollars. From 1964 to 1989, VIGILANT was home ported in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In February of 1989, after twenty-five years of active service, VIGILANT was decommissioned to undergo an 18 month Major Maintenance Availability at the Coast Guard Yard. On November 16, 1990 she was again commissioned and proudly rejoined the active fleet at her new homeport of Port Canaveral, Florida.
|Posted by MLBaron on November 22, 2008 at 5:21 PM||1427 Views|