Eagle, Once Again, to be Fixture on New London Waterfront
By: Julia Bergman
May 7, 2019
New London — With the completion of a four-year, $29 million overhaul, the Coast Guard barque Eagle will once again be a fixture on the city's waterfront.
The ship's homeport had shifted to Baltimore in the fall of 2014 while it underwent extensive maintenance work to extend its service life by 15 years.
The Eagle's homeport will shift back to New London on July 26. The 295-foot ship will berth at Fort Trumbull until City Pier, its permanent berth, is ready. The ship is currently in Oslo, Norway.
Some additional infrastructure work is needed in order for Eagle to permanently moor at City Pier. The ship, when in port, is expected to be a feature of the National Coast Guard Museum planned for the downtown New London waterfront. The National Coast Guard Museum Association will pay for the work to City Pier to accommodate the Eagle, museum spokesman Drew Forster said. The cost and details of that work are not yet available.
The work on the Eagle was done in four, seven-month periods over the fall and winter months to maintain the Eagle's summer training schedule. The ship serves as a training vessel for cadets at the Coast Guard Academy and candidates from the Officer Candidate School.
The last phase was the most complex because it involved the replacement of the ship's main propulsion system in February 2018, including a new German-made diesel engine. That required cutting large holes in the ship in order to remove the engine. The Eagle's previous, diesel-powered engine had been in use since about 1985.
Built in 1936 in Nazi Germany, the Eagle last underwent a major overhaul from 1978 to 1982.
The Eagle was initially expected to return to New London in 2018 but was delayed due to outstanding work that needed to be done. The work included renovating crew berthing and lounge areas and repairing the pilot house, which was done in winter 2018-19. The total cost of the project was $29 million, slightly higher than the initial estimate of $28 million.
Members of the ship's crew, most of whom have already relocated to the New London area, are "thrilled" to return to New London, which was designated as a "Coast Guard City" in 2015, said Ensign Angelica Brooks, public affairs officer for the Eagle.
"Their return to New London will mark the culmination of a high-visibility overseas deployment to Europe to help commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, reinforce important relationships for the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Defense, while also conducting the annual Coast Guard Academy cadet training," Brooks said.