BALTIMORE (WJZ) –It’s called a legend class vessel, but there’s nothing old about the Coast Guard’s newest cutter.

Alex DeMetrick reports, it’s finishing up a quick visit to Baltimore, before taking on missions far from home.

Up close at its dock in Fells Point, you get a feel for its size.

But it takes a view from Sky Eye Shopper 13 to take in all 418 feet of the Coast Guard cutter “James.”

“The ship is designed for law enforcement counter drug missions and search and rescue,”  said Lt. Commander Brendan Shield, with the U.S. Coast Guard. “So once we’re fully operational we’ll be deployed to the drug transit zones, which are Central and South America.”

But because it’s new ship and crew are still getting to know each other, the “James” is on what’s known as a commissioning cruise.

Training for everything from handling helicopters on its flight deck to launching onboard patrol boats.

Once mastered, a commission crew is called a plank owner.

“Oh, it’s great. It’s a great honor to be on a commissioning crew. Plank owners are term they don’t hand out very lightly, so it’s really cool to be one,” Kevin Mallory, of U.S. Coast Guard, said.

Unlike other stops, the ship opened up to visitors in Baltimore.

Gaining an appreciation not just for hardware, but the dedication to man it.

“I can thank them, I have a lot of gratitude for that,” Rachel Harding, a ship visitor, said. ” I hope some day my son chooses the same path.”

The “James” is named for Joshua James, a Massachusetts lighthouse keeper.

“He’s a Coast guard legend,” said Shield. ” He started his life career at the age of 15 in Hull, Massachusetts and worked for another 60 years. He’s credited with saving over 600 lives at sea.”

Not a bad legend for a legend class vessel.

The “James” will leave Baltimore early Friday afternoon.

Its visit was arranged by Sail Baltimore which brings unique ships from around the world to Maryland.




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