USCG Offshore Patrol Cutter – A Green Offshore Weapon Platform

The CGBlog tips us off to new designs for the next generation of Coast Guard cutters. The OPCs or Offshore Patrol Cutters, have been designed with the seemingly contrasting priorities of being environmentally friendly and a more powerful weapon platform.

In addition to these traits the USCG was also looking to design a ship with extended range, improved communications equipment and an improved ability to conduct small boat and helicopter operations in rough weather. And while military ships are not bound by international environmental regulations like MARPOL, the CG promises not only to meet current regulations but also address requirements predicted for the next 20 to 30 years. They even hope to use the “Alaska Cruise Ship Standard” to certify the waste water treatment process and equipment.

Some of the new systems have been well thought out but most is still in the idea phase. For example, they have identified the need to use fuel tanks for ballast in an emergency but only suggest the following ideas for treating the oily water once it needs to be discharged:
– Segregated ballast
– Install oil water separators (OWS) sized to process ballasting flow rate
– Design separate tanks for ballasting – “cleanballast”
– Install ballast water treatment system to protect against non-indigenous species introduction
– Use shoreside treatment systems for treatment and disposal.

You can view the official pdf of the design HERE and view comments by CG personnel HERE but, although we are excited to here of the new design, only one thing is certain; it will change before the keel is laid.