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Coast Guard cutter back in service

Divers have repaired an oil leak on the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder. "Once we've gone through our final testing over the next couple of hours, and everything goes well, we will depart Duluth, head out and start getting some work done," Lt. Kenn...

Divers have repaired an oil leak on the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder.

"Once we've gone through our final testing over the next couple of hours, and everything goes well, we will depart Duluth, head out and start getting some work done," Lt. Kenny Pepper, the Alder's spokesman, said Monday morning.

The Alder passed the final tests, and left Duluth Monday evening for Lake Michigan, where it will work on navigational aids before returning to Lake Superior.

Drivers began repairing the Alder on Thursday, and "have been working every day since," Pepper said.

The cutter went for a brief cruise on Lake Superior this morning to help test the repairs.

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The Coast Guard discovered hydraulic fluid leaking though a bad seal in the ship's controllable pitch propeller system during machinery trials on March 8. The Alder had remained at its dock at the Duluth Coast Guard station since, a boom floating behind its stern to contain any leaking oil.

Earlier this month the federal government awarded a contract to a Chesapeake, Va., diving company to repair the cutter in the water at its dock.

The 225-foot, 2,000-ton Alder was launched in 2004 in Marinette, Wis. It was stationed in Duluth to replace the World War II-era Sundew, and is responsible for icebreaking, search and rescue, and placing aids to navigation.

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