Coast Guard Cutter Cypress Arrives in Kodiak, Replaces SPAR
The US Coast Guard Cutter Cypress arrived in Kodiak after completing major maintenance at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Maryland.
Strong Arm of the Aleutians
Cypress fills the role of “Aleutian Keeper,” replacing the cutter SPAR as the 225-foot Juniper-class buoy tender, responsible for servicing navigation aids throughout Kodiak Island and the Aleutian Islands. SPAR, the latest vessel named for the agency’s motto “Semper Paratus / Always Ready,” had been homeported in Kodiak since 2001, shortly after commissioning. SPAR departed Kodiak in January 2021 for major maintenance and, upon completion, will have a new homeport on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota.
Commissioned in 2001, Cypress was stationed in Mobile, Alabama, and subsequently re-homeported to Pensacola, Florida, as the “Strong Arm of the Gulf,” servicing aids to navigation along 900 miles of coastline, stretching from Apalachicola, Florida, to the border of Mexico. The Cypress crew aided in hurricane recovery operations after Ivan, Katrina, and Rita, recovering and re-establishing buoys that hurricanes had moved up to 24 miles off station.
The operational history of Cypress includes the recovery of a US Navy “Blue Angels” F/A-18A Hornet that had sunk in 40 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico after a training accident in 2004. The Cypress crew had served thereafter as the center point for the annual Blue Angels’ air show at Pensacola Beach until her arrival at the Coast Guard Yard for major maintenance in August of 2020. In 2010, Cypress responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, conducting oil recovery operations with specialized oil recovery equipment alongside sister ships Juniper, Walnut, Sycamore, Aspen, Oak, and Elm, together recovering over 500,000 gallons of spilled oil and coordinating environmental cleanup activities between numerous federal, state, local, and private entities.
The crew began preparing Cypress for her voyage to Alaska in August and is returning to Kodiak after four months away from home.
From One Gulf to Another
The Cypress deck department stands on the buoy deck while the vessel transits from Los Angeles to Kodiak.
The Cypress crew transited over 7,600 nautical miles south along the east coast of the United States, through the Caribbean and Panama Canal, and north along the west coast of the United States, through the Alaskan Inside Passage to their new homeport at Coast Guard Base Kodiak.
During her 34-day transit, Cypress made port calls in Mayport, Florida; Key West, Florida, Long Beach, California; and Ketchikan, Alaska. The Cypress crew took full advantage of the long transit time to conduct damage control training, small boat training, engineering and navigation drills, and qualifying sixty-three individuals for watch proficiency.
The Cypress crew looks forward to returning to their families, serving their Alaska community, and returning to the important work of servicing aids to navigation that support the maritime transportation system vital to Alaska’s robust maritime economy.