PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Eastern Shipbuilding Group launched the Coast Guard’s next-generation off-shore patrol cutter, on Friday afternoon.

Over 2,000 guests came to witness the historic christening and launch of the OCP, Argus. Argus is 1 of 4 OCPs being built at Eastern Shipbuilding Group. 

“I’ve watched this program from where it was just an idea on paper and here we are launching the ship, putting it in the water,” said United States Congressman Neal Dunn. “We don’t get a lot of great days like this in Congress. This is a great day.”

The vessel, which is part of a multibillion dollar program, is equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as MMR Athena Radar. Such technology will allow the Coast Guard to embark on missions that would be impossible otherwise. Argus’ construction was delayed by Hurricane Michael and the COVID-19 pandemic, but the grit and determination of workers and the community made it possible to complete the ship on time. 

“Hurricane Michael came through here just as it started construction, ruined their assembly facilities, ruined their offices and the homes of the men and women who are building this ship,” said Congressman Dunn. “They came together as a family. We literally housed these families, kept them here working, and they delivered these ships on time, on budget.”

Argus will sail around the world, protecting the United States maritime interests as well as our allies. United States Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan says the vessel will save lives. 

“Our cutters interdict narcotics smuggled at sea to keep those dangerous drugs off American streets, to deny transnational criminal organizations illicit sources of revenue,” said United States Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan. “This is life-saving work, and it’s life-saving work that we are committed to.”

Argus will be completed and handed over to the Coast Guard within the next 12 months.