Coast Guard to Update Fleet with New Cutters

By Cole, William | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, July 3, 2017 | Go to article overview

Coast Guard to Update Fleet with New Cutters


Cole, William, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


COURTESY COAST GUARD The cutter Oliver Berry was given to the Coast Guard in a ceremony Tuesday in Florida.

A new, 154-foot Coast Guard “fast response cutter” scheduled to be commissioned in Hono­lulu in October represents the first in a series of new cutters anticipated in coming years as District 14 revitalizes a fleet that’s between 25 and 50 years old.

The Coast Guard accepted the cutter Oliver Berry, the 24th fast-response cutter built by Bollinger Shipyards, in a ceremony Tuesday in Key West, Fla.

It will be the first such cutter to be stationed in the 14th Coast Guard District, which covers Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, some Pacific island nations and parts of Asia.

Six of the new, $65 million cutters, with a crew of 24, are replacing four aging Island-­class 110-foot patrol boats in Hawaii and Guam that are between 25 and 28 years old.

“Ultimately, the full recapitalization will mean increased capability, more ships and the ability to be in more places at once,” said Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir, a District 14 spokeswoman.

Honolulu also is getting replacements for the Coast Guard’s dwindling fleet of 378-foot Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters that were first commissioned in 1967. Only four of the original 12 ships remain in service to the United States, including the Sherman in Honolulu, commissioned in 1968. The Sherman falls under the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area command out of Alameda, Calif.

Another older high-endurance cutter in Honolulu, the Morgenthau, commissioned in 1969, was recently turned over to Vietnam.

Two new 418-foot national security cutters of the nine being built by the Coast Guard will be stationed in Honolulu. The Kimball is expected to arrive in 2018, and the Midgett in 2019.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft in his state of the Coast Guard address in March said it had been a “phenomenal year” for the nation’s fifth armed service.

“This administration and Congress, they get it, as we recapitalize our legacy fleet across three cutter classes with ships that have proven to be a quantum leap over their predecessors,” Zukunft said, adding they are “true game changers.”

The Coast Guard is moving to complete construction of 58 fast-response cutters and acquire the first nine of 25 offshore patrol cutters and the ninth national security cutter, Zukunft said. …

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