USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717)
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USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) in the Bering Sea, 2001.
|Laid down:||25 July 1966|
|Launched:||11 February 1967|
|Commissioned:||9 January 1968|
|Length:||378 ft (115 m)|
|Beam:||43 ft (13 m)|
|Draught:||15 ft (4.6 m)|
|Speed:||29 knots (54 km/h)|
|Range:||14,000 nmi (25,900 km)|
|AN/SPS-40 air-search radar|
Mellon was laid down on 25 July 1966 at Avondale Shipyards near New Orleans, Louisiana. She was named for Andrew W. Mellon, the 49th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1921-1932 and launched on 11 February 1967 by the wife of John W. Warner, Jr., sponsor and granddaughter of Andrew Mellon. Mellon was commissioned 9 January 1968.
In February 1974, the Mellon played a major role rescuing the crew of the Italian supertanker Giovanna Lolli-Ghetti. They survived an explosion, fire and then sinking of the tanker. At midnight Mellon was advised of a distress call from 230 miles south-east of Hawaii. At roughly 1115 hrs the next morning, Mellon reached the area where the vessel Tamerlane (Norway) was rescuing survivors from the now deserted tanker.
The survivors transferred to the Mellon for medical treatment, warm food and clean clothes. The nearby Novikov Priboya from Russia arrived to give additional medical aid. Seven of the crew were not recovered. The rest were taken back to Honolulu on the Mellon.
In October 1980 the Mellon assisted in the rescue of over 400 passengers and crew of the MS Prinsendam, a luxury liner in distress in the Gulf Of Alaska. After the rescue operations were completed, the Mellon remained on scene in a futile attempt to fight the fire, that had originated in the Prinsendam engine room and progressed throughout the ship. While the Prinsendam was under tow by salvage tugs, and escorted by the Mellon the burning ship suddenly listed hard over to Port and sank within a few minutes.
Mellon was modernized from 1985 to 1989. She was the first and only USCG cutter to be fitted with the Harpoon missile, test firings were also conducted in January 1990. She also received an anti-submarine warfare suite including the AN/SQS-26 sonar and Mark 46 torpedoes. The ASW suite and Harpoon capability were removed due to fiscal constraints, but served as a proof of capability for all USCG cutters.
In the 1980 Disney film The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, the Mellon found and rescued the crew of an airplane that had been converted into a makeshift life raft.
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