Bay Ridgites have a new neighbor: a heavily armed 270-foot U.S. Coast Guard Cutter harbored near the 69th Street Pier.
The Spencer dropped anchor in New York Harbor on Nov. 2 as its crew of 100 joined the ongoing Hurricane Sandy relief effort.
Coast Guard officials say the impressive vessel comes equipped with a state-of-the-art command center and heli-pad for launching and coordinating supply deliveries — on top of a three-foot gun turret and six 50-caliber machine guns that can be found on its deck.
Yet the waterborne peacekeepers say Brooklynites won’t be seeing any display of firepower on this trip.
“It’s another place available to us so we can deploy assets into the response area,” said Petty Officer Tim Tamargo, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman. “The capabilities are there, but the ship is strictly for response coordination.”
Besides getting food, water, and medicine to Sandy’s victims, the ship will also help guide a fleet of fuel tankers into the harbor — a major task, as Brooklynites ache for a drop of gasoline. The Spencer will also oversee clean-up sites along the New Jersey coastline.
“Positioning the Spencer in New York Harbor gives me on-scene command and control, supplements units impacted by the storm, and offers the very best response to the people of New York and New Jersey,” said the boat’s commander, Rear Admiral Dan Abel.
The Spencer has had thrilling career: built in 1982, it’s primarily been used to capture drug runners and illegal immigrants coming to U.S. shores. It has participated in a number of rescue efforts, most notably the search for a missing Air National Guardsmen during the Perfect Storm of 1991.