ASTORIA, Ore. — A Coast Guard cutter that has tended buoys in the Pacific Northwest for 15 years has left Astoria for good.
The Daily Astorian reports the 225-foot (69-meter) ship named Fir left Astoria for Baltimore on Monday.
Brass gongs and bells meant to help boats navigate in poor visibility are being stolen from buoys off Maine’s coast.
Its replacement, the Juniper-class cutter named Elm, is scheduled to arrive at Tongue Point in February.
Crew members on Fir performed two years’ worth of buoy maintenance in anticipation of the eight-month wait.
The Coast Guard in Rhode Island is trying to stop people using buoys as target practice, saying shooting at the navigational aids may be fun, but it's also a federal crime.
The Fir’s primary mission has been maintaining buoys in the Columbia River and off the Oregon and Washington state coasts, including some located about 300 miles (483 kilometers) off the coast and owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
After its yearlong maintenance in Baltimore, Fir will return to service and be docked in Cordova, Alaska.