|USCGC Unimak (WAVP-379)|
USCGC Unimak (WHEC-379, ex-WAVP-379, ex-WTR-379, on 8 June 1987
|Namesake:||Unimak Bay on the coast of Unimak Island in Alaska (previous name retained)|
|Builder:||Associated Shipbuilders, Inc., Seattle, Washington|
|Laid down:||15 February 1942|
|Launched:||27 May 1942|
Lent by United States Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 14 September 1948|
Permanently transferred from Navy to Coast Guard 26 September 1966
|Commissioned:||3 January 1949|
|Decommissioned:||31 May 1975|
|Recommissioned:||22 August 1977|
|Decommissioned:||29 April 1988|
High endurance cutter, WHEC-379, 1 May 1966|
Training ship, WTR-379, 28 November 1969
High endurance cutter, WHEC-379, 22 August 1977
Transferred to U.S. Navy 1988|
Scuttled to form artificial reef
|Class & type:||Casco-class cutter|
|Displacement:||2,498 long tons (2,538 t) full load in 1966|
|Length:||311 ft 7¾ in (95.0 m) overall; 300 ft 0 in (91.4 m) between perpendiculars|
|Beam:||41 ft (12.5 m) maximum|
|Draft:||12 ft 7 in (3.8 m) full load, aft, maximum, in 1966|
|Installed power:||6,080 bhp (4,530 kW)|
|Propulsion:||Four Fairbanks-Morse 10-cylinder direct-reversing diesel engines in two engine rooms; two shafts|
|Speed:||17.3 knots (32 km/h) sustained maximum in 1966>br/> 10.0 knots (19 km/h) economic in 1966|
10,300 nautical miles (19,100 km) at 17.3 knots (32.0 km/h) (19,076 kilometers at 32 km/h) in 1966|
20,800 nmi at 10.0 knots (18.5 km/h) (38,522 km at 19 km/h) in 1966
|Capacity:||166,430 US gallons (630,000 L) (630.0 kiloliters) diesel fuel|
|Complement:||89 (10 officers, 2 warrant officers, 77 enlisted personnel) in 1966|
|Sensors and |
• 1 × 5"/38 gun (replaced in 1972 with 5"/54) |
• 6 × .50-caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns
• 2 × 90 mm mortars on 01 deck forward of the bridge
USCGC Unimak (WAVP-379), later WHEC-379, WTR-379, and again WHEC-379, was a United States Coast Guard Casco-class cutter in commission from 1949 to 1975 and from 1977 to 1988. Her radio callsign was NBVG.
Unimak began life as the United States Navy Barnegat-class small seaplane tender USS Unimak (AVP-31). She was laid down on 15 February 1942 at Seattle, Washington, by Associated Shipbuilders, Inc., launched on 27 May 1942, and commissioned on 31 December 1943. She served in Central America, the Galapagos Islands and the North Atlantic during World War II and in Hawaii, the Aleutian Islands and the North Pacific postwar. She was decommissioned on 26 July 1946 and placed in reserve.
Transferred to the U.S. Coast GuardEdit
Barnegat-class ships were very reliable and seaworthy and had good habitability, and the Coast Guard viewed them as ideal for ocean station duty, in which they would perform weather reporting and search and rescue tasks, once they were modified by having a balloon shelter added aft and having oceanographic equipment, an oceanographic winch, and a hydrographic winch installed.
The Navy loaned Unimak to the United States Coast Guard on 14 September 1948. After undergoing conversion for Coast Guard use, she was commissioned into the Coast Guard on 3 January 1949 as USCGC Unimak (WAVP-379).
Coast Guard serviceEdit
First period in commission 1949-1975Edit
Unimak was homeported in Boston, Massachusetts, from 3 January 1949 to 1 September 1956. Her primary duty during her Coast Guard service was to serve on ocean stations to gather meteorological data. While on duty in one of these stations, she was required to patrol a 210-square-mile (544-square-kilometer) area for three weeks at a time, leaving the area only when physically relieved by another Coast Guard cutter or in the case of a dire emergency. While on station, she acted as an aircraft check point at the point of no return, a relay point for messages from ships and aircraft, as a source of the latest weather information for passing aircraft, as a floating oceanographic laboratory, and as a search-and-rescue ship for downed aircraft and vessels in distress, and engaged in law enforcement operations.
In June 1956, Unimak patrolled the Newport, Rhode Island-to-Bermuda race.
Unimak was stationed at Cape May, New Jersey, from 1 September 1956 to 7 August 1972 and used primarily for training United States Coast Guard Reserve personnel, including training cruises to Brazil and Nova Scotia. She took part in the United States Coast Guard Academy cadet cruise of August 1965.
Unimak was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-379 on 1 May 1966. Her loan period from the Navy came to an end on 26 September 1966, when she was transferred permanently from the Navy to the Coast Guard.
On 7 March 1967 she rescued six Cuban refugees in the Yucatan Channel. On 10 March 1967 she rescued survivors from the fishing vessel Bunkie III in Florida waters. On 15 March 1967, she rescued 12 Cuban refugees who were stranded on an island. On 29 May 1969, she towed the fishing vessel Sirocco—which was disabled 35 nautical miles (65 km) east of Fort Pierce, Florida—to safety.
Unimak was reclassified as a training ship and again redesignated, this time as WTR-379, on 28 November 1969.
On 3 April 1970, she stood by the grounded merchant ship Vassiliki near Mayaguana Island until a commercial tug arrived to assist Vassiliki. From 7 August 1972 to 31 May 1975, Unimak was stationed at Yorktown, Virginia, and was again used to train Coast Guard reservists.
Unimak was decommissioned on 31 May 1975 placed in storage at Curtis Bay, Maryland.
Second period in commission 1977-1988Edit
On 22 August 1977, Unimak was reactivated, again redesignated WHEC-379. She was home-ported at New Bedford, Massachusetts, for the rest of her Coast Guard career. During this stint in commission, she was used primarily for fisheries patrol. Unimak also interdicted the trafficking of illegal drugs. On 6 October 1980, she seized the merchant ship Janeth 340 nautical miles (630 km) southeast of Miami, Florida, carrying 500 bales of marijuana. On 14 October 1980, she seized the pleasure craft Rescue carrying approximately 500 bales of marijuana and the pleasure craft Snail with two tons of marijuana on board in the Gulf of Mexico. On 17 October 1980, she seized the merchant vessel Amalaka southwest of Key West, Florida, carrying 1,000 bales of marijuana. On 19 October 1980, she seized the fishing vessel Wright's Pride southwest of Key West, carrying 30 tons of marijuana. In March 1981, while on an Officer Candidate School training cruise, she intercepted the merchant ship Mayo with 40 tons of marijuana on board.
On 9 December 1982, Unimak towed the disabled fishing vessel Sacred Heart away from Daid Banks, 45 nautical miles (83 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 30-foot (9.1 m) seas. Between 28 January 1983 and 9 March 1983, Unimak again deployed to the Caribbean for a law-enforcement patrol. On 27 February 1983 and 28 February 1983, she towed the dismasted sailing vessel Wandering Star to Mathew Town, Great Iguana. On 3 March 1983, she towed the disabled merchant vessel Yadrina to Mathew Town.
On 30 November 1984, Unimak seized the sailboat Lola 100 nautical miles (190 km) north of Barranquilla, Colombia, carrying 1.5 tons of marijuana. Another drug seizure occurred on 2 November 1985, when Unimak seized tugboat Zeus 3 and a barge 200 nautical miles (370 km) south of the Dominican Republic carrying 40 tons of marijuana.
Decommissioning and disposalEdit
The Coast Guard decommissioned Unimak on 29 April 1988 and transferred her to the U.S. Navy. She was then sunk as an artificial reef off the Virginia coast.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- United States Coast Guard Historiian's Office: USCGC Unimak 1948 WHEC-379
- United States Coast Guard Historian's Office: Mackinac, 1949 WHEC-371
- Photo gallery of Unimak at NavSource Naval History
- Department of the Navy: Naval Historical Center: Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships: USS Unimak (AVP-31), 1943-1948
- Gardiner, Robert. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1982, Part I: The Western Powers. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1983. ISBN 0-87021-918-9.
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