Seneca Moves From Boston to Portsmouth, VA

Below is a First District news release. This is the latest in a pattern showing two trends:

  • Clustering ships of a class, and
  • Ships moving South to be closer to the drug transit areas.

Thing is, Seneca was one of three 270s in Boston, so she was in a cluster. Since this leaves only two in Boston, I suspect this is only the first to leave and that ultimately the other 270s will leave Boston as well.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast
Contact: 1st District Public Affairs
Office: (617) 223-8515
After Hours: (617) 717-9609
1st District online newsroom

Boston-based Coast Guard cutter to end 33-year homeport tenure in Massachusetts

The 270-foot medium endurance Coast Guard Cutter Seneca sits moored at Coast Guard Integrated Support Command in Boston as the sun rises over the city May 16, 2008. The Seneca and its namesake cutter are both rich with maritime history. The original Revenue Cutter Seneca was the first cutter to engage in official ice patrol duties after the RMS Titanic sank in 1912. Shortly thereafter, Seneca was called on to protect convoys from submarine attacks between Gibraltar and Great Britain in World War I. Today, the Seneca, homeported in Boston, continues to carry out law enforcement, search and rescue, alien migration interdiction, and homeland security missions. (Coast Guard photo/PA3 Connie Terrell)

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

BOSTON — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca departed Coast Guard Base Boston Wednesday, en route to their new homeport in Portsmouth, Virginia.

After 33 years homeported in Boston, Seneca will continue service with six other 270-foot, medium endurance cutters, homeported at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth. This will allow the Coast Guard to better leverage efficiencies gained by clustering vessels of the same class.

Seneca was formally commissioned in Boston on May 9, 1987. Since then, Seneca’s crew has conducted nearly all of the Coast Guard’s missions throughout New England, the Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, all while calling Boston home.

In the late 1990s, Coast Guard Cutter Seneca, along with Coast Guard Cutter Galatin, was part of Operation New Frontier, a counter-narcotics operation that tested the use of high-speed pursuit boats and armed helicopters. The operation was successfully completed March 13, 2000, and lead to the creation of the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron in Jacksonville, Florida.

More recently, Seneca’s crew assisted in the rescue of 187 Haitian migrants approximately 17 miles southwest of Turks and Caicos Islands on December 22, 2019. The Coast Guard, Royal Bahamas Defense Force, and Turks and Caicos Islands Police worked together to rescue all 187 people after they were spotted onboard a single 30-foot vessel.

Seneca shares its name with the Revenue Cutter Seneca, the first cutter to engage in official ice patrol duties after the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, and one of five Coast Guard cutters that made up Squadron 2 of Division 6 of the Atlantic Fleet Patrol Forces during World War I.

Where in the World are the WHECs?

The Former USCGC Morgenthau, now in Vvietnamese service

The Philippines has a continuing interest in the 378 foot WHECs, after all they already have three, and it appears they may want another. Certainly they and other operators (Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Vietnam) will want to cooperate in finding ways to keep them operational.

An online discussion group called “Defense of the Republic of the Philippines” has a page entitled “Where in the World are the WHECs?” devoted to the topic. It includes both the old and new names and hull numbers. It also looks at the future disposition of 378s still in US Coast Guard service (Sherman, Midgett, Mellon, and Douglas Munro). (Yes we currently have both a USCGC Douglas Munro (WHEC-724) and a USCGC Munro (WMSL-755).

Sherman is expected to be decommissioned in 2018, Midgett in 2019, Mellon in 2020. Douglas Munro’s decommissioning is not currently scheduled but will probably happen in 2021.

The decommissioning information is based on Annex J of a MARAD report, “OFFICE OF SHIP DISPOSAL PROGRAMS ANNUAL REPORT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2016.”