“HMS Medway, U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Seize Cocaine in Caribbean” –Seapower

HMS MEDWAY and her embarked US Coastguard Law Enforcement team interdicted a vessel carrying over 400kg of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea, 29 Sep 22. Initially spotted by a US Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the ship chased down the boat before the Coastguard boarding team discovered the drugs and detained three individuals. The operation, which lasted overnight, then concluded with the vessel being sunk by Medway’s weapons systems.

A hat tip to our Royal Navy friends. The Navy League’s on line magazine, Seapower, reports,

A Royal Navy ship and U.S. Coast Guard boarding team seized more than 400 kilograms of cocaine worth around £24m on Britain’s streets from a boat in the Caribbean, the U.K. Ministry Of Defence said in an Oct. 28 release.

HMS Medway is a River Class Batch II Offshore Patrol Vessel. The Coast Guard would probably call her a medium endurance cutter. They have a relatively small crew and are faster than Coast Guard WMECs or the Offshore Patrol Cutters currently building.

There is no indication they operated with an embarked helicopter. Operating in the Caribbean they would have had adequate fixed wing support. They have a large helicopter landing area but no hangar. The helicopter in the illustration is a very large one, a Merlin, with a max take off weight of over 32,000 pounds.

The gun on these ships is the same gun and mount as the new Mk38 Mod4.

USCGC MOHAWK’s Trans-Atlantic, Europe and West Africa Deployment–Wrap Up

I love the T-shirt, great morale builder. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Daring, an operations specialist temporarily assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, cleans the bulk heads during a fresh water wash down of the ship while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 10, 2022.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette) 

Below is a media advisory concerning the expected return of USCGC Mohawk from a 92 day deployment that included escorting two PATFORSWA bound Webber class patrol craft accross the Atlantic and port visits and capacity building in Europe and West Africa.

Maybe we need a new slogan, “Join the Coast Guard and see the World.”

It was an unusually very well documented cruise, at least photographically, check it out.

USCGC Mohawk (WMEC-913), Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC-1147), and John Scheuerman (WPC-1146)

USCGC Mohawk sails alongside a Nigerian navy ship in the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 22, 2022. (Jessica Fontenette/U.S. Coast Guard)

USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) conducts a MK-75 gun exercise while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 2, 2022.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette)

Crew members onboard the USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) prepare for helicopter hoist training on the flight deck while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, Aug. 27, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette)


Media Advisory

U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Are

Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk to return from 92-Day AFRICOM deployment

KEY WEST, Fla. — USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) and crew are scheduled to return to their homeport Monday following a 92-day, United States Africa Command deployment.

WHO: Cmdr. Andrew Pate, Mohawk’s commanding officer, and Mohawk crew

WHAT: Mohawk crew returns to Key West homeport after 92-day, AFRICOM deployment

WHERE: Coast Guard Sector Key West, 201 Mustin St., Key West, Florida 33040, Delta 2 Pier

WHEN: 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12

Editor’s Note: Media are asked to RSVP by 4 p.m. Sunday to Atlantic Area Public Affairs at 757-452-8336. Media are requested to arrive no later than 12 p.m., Monday, with a driver’s license and proof of insurance in order to be processed through security.

Mohawk’s crew departed Key West, Florida in June and forward-deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe –Africa area of operations, where they were employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

Mohawk began its deployment as surface action group commander, leading the transatlantic escort of two newly commissioned 154-foot fast response cutters, USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) and USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) from Key West, Florida to the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations. Clarence Sutphin Jr. and John Scheuerman continued on to their new homeport in Manama, Bahrain, where they will be employed by U.S. Fifth Fleet.

While on deployment, Mohawk made significant advances in combating piracy and illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing conducting multinational law enforcement operations at sea in the Atlantic basin. Their efforts served to strengthen existing relationships with  African nations, and prioritized opportunities for new partnerships with allies who share common interests in the region. Mohawk’s crew worked closely with eight partner nation navies, sailing nearly 19,000 nautical miles in support of American interests abroad. Leading training exercises at-sea and in port, Mohawk also hosted diplomatic engagements and participated in community relations events during port visits to Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Portugal, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Mohawk was the first United States warship to moor in The Gambia since 1994.

Commissioned in March 1991, Mohawk is the 13th and last of the Famous-class Coast Guard cutters. It is named for the Algonquin tribe of Iroquoian Indians who lived in the Mohawk Valley of New York, and is the third cutter to bear the name. Mohawk is homeported in Key West, Florida.

 Photos from Mohawk’s deployment are available here.

“Coast Guard, other agencies to remove 2 abandoned vessels from Columbia River in Portland, Ore.” –One of Them Is a Former US Coast Guard Cutter

The Active-class cutter USCGC Alert (WMEC-127) moored on the Columbia River, by Hayden Island in Portland, Oregon. Seen on 14 August 2019. Photo from Wikipedia by godsfriendchuck.

Just saw this news release and realized they were talking about the former USCGC Alert (WMEC-127). We talked about this ship and its unfortunate post Coast Guard history earlier including a lot of information in the comments.

Since this was what passed for a WMEC when I entered the academy in 1965, you can see why I sometimes see the Webber class FRCs as MECs. The FRCs have more freeboard.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 13th District PA Detachment Astoria

Coast Guard, other agencies to remove 2 abandoned vessels from Columbia River in Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Coast Guard and other agencies have approved a plan Wednesday to remove two abandoned vessels from the Columbia River in Portland.

The vessels Alert, a 125-foot vessel, and Sakarissa, a 100-foot vessel, are currently sunk off Hayden Island. They are adjacent to the Interstate 5 Bridge and a mile upriver from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad bridge.

Due to hull deterioration and oil saturation of the vessels’ interiors, they have been discharging a sheen into the waterway. They also pose a collision hazard for vessels operating outside the navigation channel.

“Even though the Coast Guard oversaw the removal of thousands of gallons of diesel and oily water from these vessels in 2020, they still pose a risk,” said L.t. Lisa Siebert, the Incident Management Division Supervisor at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River – Detachment Portland. “We have worked closely with our State and local partners to develop an integrated plan to remove these vessels and protect the public and the environment.”

This project will be funded in two phases. During the first phase, the Coast Guard plans to use the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) to raise the vessels and transport them to a facility in order to safely pump any remaining oil waste product from the vessels. During the second phase, the Oregon Department of State Lands, with funding support from Metro, is scheduled to assume custody of the vessels for final disposal.

The Coast Guard was granted authorization to access the OSLTF for $1 million for its phase of the project. There is currently a ceiling amount of $500,000 for each vessel. This amount is determined for the response based on anticipated obligations. Since this is just an estimate, this ceiling is subject to change during the response.

The Coast Guard plans to begin operations in early September, starting with dive assessments to determine the safest way to raise and transport the two vessels. The Coast Guard plans to conduct operations to raise the vessels throughout the month of September. 

“These plans are preliminary and we will continuously assess our plan and make adjustments if needed,” Siebert said. “Throughout this response, the safety of the public and responders will remain our top priority.”

During project activities, the immediate vicinity of the area will be closed to public access.

“I’m incredibly happy our partnerships and hard work resulted in a much-needed plan to remove these vessels,” Siebert said. “This project is truly a team effort and we can’t do it alone.”

Involved in developing the plan were the Coast Guard, Oregon Department of State Lands, Metro, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For the most up-to-date information about this project, follow us on Twitter at @USCGPacificNW.

“USCGC Mohawk Arrives in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire” –SeaWaves

USCGC Mohawk (WMEC-913), Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC-1147), and John Scheuerman (WPC-1146)

SeaWaves report,

The Famous-class medium endurance cutter USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrived in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire for a scheduled port visit August 12.

The visit demonstrates the strengthening security cooperation relationship between the United States and Côte d’Ivoire. While in Abidjan, the Mohawk crew will exchange with Côte d’Ivoire maritime forces, including medical response treatment, close quarters combat and casualty care, illegal contraband collection and handling, and Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) demonstrations.


Mohawk is forward-deployed to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) area of operations, while employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet. Mohawk is on a West Africa patrol to demonstrate partnership with regional partners and conduct a routine presence patrol. Since July, the Mohawk has made port calls to Senegal, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone.

This is a continuation of a voyage that initially escorted the last two Webber class WPCs bound for Bahrain, where they replace 110 foot WPBs that have long served Patrol Forces South West Asia (PATFORSWA). Some previous reporting,

“USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrives in Lisbon, Portugal”–Navy.mil–and Two More FRCs for PATFORSWA, and “USCGC Mohawk arrives in Dakar, Senegal” –SeaWaves July, 2022

This is only the latest visit by a WMEC270 to Africa. Some previous reports:

Exercise Obangame Express 2019 –Capacity Building in West Africa, Mar. 2019 and “The U.S. Coast Guard’s Mission to Africa” –USNI, Apr. 2019, USCGC Thetis (WMEC-910)

“The Long Blue Line: Operation “Relevant Ursa”–Bear training in West Africa” –Coast Guard Compass, Oct. 2020, USCGC Bear (WMEC-901)

Thetis Escorts FRCs Transatlantic, and “U.S., Spain, Morocco collaborate to conduct rescue at sea” –LANT AREA News Release, Jan. 2022, USCGC Thetis (WMEC-910)

 

“USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrives in Lisbon, Portugal”–Navy.mil–and Two More FRCs for PATFORSWA

USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC-1146) and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC-1147) enroute PATFORSWA

Below is a Navy news release reporting the arrival of USCGC Mohawk in Lisbon. Somewhat surprisingly there is no mention of the two Webber class cutters pictured in an attached photo (above) and no photo of Mohawk.

Looking closely at the photo above, you can see they have the Counter Drone upgrades seen on other FRCs that have been assigned to PATFORSWA.

Obviously this is the last pair of Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) being transferred to Patrol Forces SW Asia (PATFORSWA). They were escorted across the Atlantic by Mohawk. Can’t believe I did not see the gorgeous photo below earlier. Perfect for 4th of July.

The USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913), USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146), and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) sail in formation in the Atlantic Ocean, June 22, 2022. The John Scheuerman and the Clarence Sutphin Jr. are the 46th and 47th Sentinel-class fast response cutters, respectively. They will become the fifth and sixth FRC’s to be homeported in Manama, Bahrain. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Fontenette)


USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrives in Lisbon, Portugal

29 June 2022

From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

LISBON, Portugal – The Famous-class medium endurance cutter USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913) arrived in Lisbon, Portugal for a scheduled port visit, June 29, 2022.

This port visit marks the first stop for Mohawk, while employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of operations. During the visit, Mohawk leadership will meet government leaders and military maritime counterparts, while the crew enjoys the rich cultural history of Portugal.

“It is a tremendous privilege to be here in Lisbon,” said Cmdr. Andrew Pate, commanding officer aboard USCGC Mohawk (WMEC 913). “Like the United States, Portugal has a rich and deep maritime history and combined maritime operations provide a critical opportunity to improve interoperability with our partners, and prove that we are stronger together.”

Earlier this month, Adm. Linda Fagan, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, visited Lisbon and met with Ambassador Randi Charno Levine and Portugal’s Chief of Naval Staff, Adm. Henrique Eduardo Passaláqua de Gouveia e Melo. Fagan is also the first woman, and first mother, to lead any of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Portugal has a long maritime history and their navy boasts 705 years of continuous service.

“Portugal is an important ally of the United States and plays a pivotal role in the security and cohesion of the Alliance,” said Rear Adm. Chase Patrick, director of maritime headquarters, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa. “Mohawk’s visit to Portugal demonstrates our shared goals for regional peace and stability.”

Mohawk is the 13th and last of the Famous-class cutters. It is named for the Algonquin tribe of Iroquoian Indians who lived in the Mohawk Valley of New York. Mohawk is the third cutter to bear the name. Mohawk’s parent command is U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area.

The U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area command oversees all domestic Service operations east of the Rocky Mountains, including the Arctic, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and out-of-hemisphere operations in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia. Atlantic Area is responsible for coordinating and deploying cutters, aircraft, pollution response equipment, and thousands of personnel throughout the globe to ensure resources, equipment, and personnel are available to support the Coast Guard’s statutory missions.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.

“Coast Guard cutters mark SLEP milestones for ISVS Program” –CG-9

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Seneca prior to prototype SLEP

Below is an Acquisitions Directorate (CG-9) report on a couple of “In Service Vessel Sustainment” (ISVS) projects. This talks about the Polar Star, but we already knew about that. This is the first report on the WMEC270 SLEP that I can recall. It corrects my previous impression that Harriet Lane was to be the first. Seneca was the first. It also says,

Six more of the 13 in-service WMECs will undergo SLEP work, with production work starting in 2023.

I was under the impression that only six total were to be SLEPed. Does “production work starting in 2023,” mean what was done to Seneca and will be done to Harriet Lane is not a full-fledged SLEP?

If work on these two ships is “prototyping” and not “production,” it may be significant that these two cutters were built by different builders, Harriet Lane having been one of the four built by Tacoma Boat and Seneca one of the nine built by Robert Derecktor Shipyard. There may be some differences within the class.

It was anticipated that the 76mm Mk75 gun was to be removed, along with, presumably, the Mk92 fire control system, to be replaced with a Mk38 gun mount.  There is no mention of this.


Coast Guard cutters mark SLEP milestones for ISVS Program

April 21, 2022

Two Coast Guard service life extension programs (SLEP) reached milestones in early April – prototype work was completed on a 270-foot medium endurance cutter (WMEC) and Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star commenced the second phase of its SLEP work.

SLEPs address specific systems and major maintenance to extend the service life of the vessel to meet cost, schedule and performance requirements. They are part of the In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program, which conducts strategic major maintenance and recapitalization as vessels age and critical systems become obsolete, improving the reliability of Coast Guard vessels, helping control maintenance costs and increasing time spent underway.

For the WMEC SLEP, Coast Guard Cutter Seneca recently departed Coast Guard Yard April 4 for its homeport in Portsmouth, Virginia. Seneca served as a prototype for the SLEP work on the WMECs, which is a renewal of several mission-critical systems including electrical updates with new generators, switchboards and Coast Guard machinery control system software updates.

“This wraps up a successful nine-month project at Coast Guard Yard that began in July 2021 totaling over $6.4 million,” said Lt. Charles Lortz, the Project Residence Office Baltimore 270-foot WMEC SLEP section chief. “Beyond the difficulties inherent to a prototype project, the Seneca project followed an expedited planning process to more quickly deliver a more capable asset to the fleet. It was certainly noted, by all involved, that this project was charting new territory.”

Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane arrived at Coast Guard Yard March 28 and will undergo prototype refinements. Six more of the 13 in-service WMECs will undergo SLEP work, with production work starting in 2023. The WMEC SLEP will sustain capabilities to meet mission needs until they are replaced by offshore patrol cutters.

As Seneca was heading to its homeport, Polar Star transited from the San Francisco Bay to Mare Island Dry Dock LLC in Vallejo, California. On April 8, it commenced the second phase of SLEP work items and recurring maintenance, which is taking place over a five-year, annually phased production schedule that runs through 2025. During the second phase, Polar Star SLEP will recapitalize two engineering control systems: one will operate and control the cutter’s 75,000 shaft horsepower gas turbines and auxiliary systems while the other control system is dedicated to the diesel electric propulsion plant. When completed, Polar Star’s SLEP will have replaced a number of major systems and extended the service life of the Coast Guard’s only operational heavy icebreaker.

The Coast Guard is also investing in a new fleet of polar security cutters (PSC) that will sustain the service’s capabilities to meet mission needs in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The first PSC is on contract for delivery in 2025. Polar Star will stay in service until the second PSC is operational.

For more information: In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program page

“USCG’s Polar Security Cutters to Receive Mark 38 Mod 4 Guns” –Naval News

Naval News reports that the Polar Security Cutters will be armed with the new 30mm Mk38 Mod4 rather than the familiar 25mm Mk38 Mod2/3 which currently arms Webber class Fast Response Cutters.

There were a couple of additional pieces of information as well.

  • Other Coast Guard vessels will also get the Mod4.
  • There are no plans to replace existing 25mm mounts with the 30mm Mod4.

The answer on the Polar Security Cutters is probably definitive because it is still three years in the future. Presumably the Navy will use up the 25mm mounts they have already purchased before installing the Mod4. The Offshore Patrol Cutter program extends so far into the future, it is likely most of them will receive the 30mm.

I would argue, vessels for which the Mk38 is the primary armament, particularly if they have only one, should receive a higher priority for the more capable Mod4 since we know the 30mm is more effective than the 25mm, and these vessels have no more powerful alternative weapon they could employ. It appears the WMEC270 that are going through the service life extension program fall in this category.

As for upgrading existing installations, there is a strong case to be made for upgrading the PATFORSWA Webber class WPCs. The 30mm offers options that are not available for the 25mm including an airburst round that can be used against UAVs and a swimmer round that is particularly effective against swarming fast inshore attack craft, both significant threats in the Persian Gulf.

The post also refers to the possibility of mounting missiles on the mount. That possibility was discussed in more detail here. I would like to see all the 25mm guns replaced by the 30mm, but if the earlier Mk38 Mod2/3 mounts were modified to mount APKWS guided rockets or Hellfire and its successor, there would be less need for the larger caliber gun.

Major Cutter Homeports

“Coast Guard Cutter Forward and Coast Guard Cutter Bear, homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia, finish an at-sea transfer while underway on a two-month patrol. Coast Guard Cutter Forward returned to homeport on April 10, 2021.” (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Recently I had to look up homeports of WMECs. I found that there did not seem to be a single comprehensive up to date list. Seemed it might be useful to share the list. I have added the Bertholf class and what we know about the basing of the Offshore Patrol Cutters as well. These are not district assets, but I found it convenient to group them by homeport district. The numbers in parenthesis are the hull numbers. First some observations.

OBSERVATIONS:

The intent is to split the Bertholf class, almost evenly between the Atlantic and Pacific Areas: five (45%) to LANTAREA and six (55%) to PACAREA.

The vast majority of medium endurance cutters are assigned to LANTAREA. All 100% of the 270s and 24 (86%) of 28 total.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of the US EEZ and territorial sea (84%) falls under the Pacific Area Commander, the vast majority of large patrol cutters are based in the Atlantic Area. This is, at least in part, due to the Alien Migrant and Drug interdiction missions. It is counter intuitive, but Charleston, SC is closer to the Eastern Pacific Drug transit zones than San Diego, CA.

Once the first four OPCs reach their bases in San Pedro and Kodiak, the Pacific Area will once again have ten “high endurance cutters,” as they did before recapitalization began.

WHO BUILT THEM?:

The entire Bertholf class has been built by Huntington Ingalls of Pascagoula, MS. The lead ship was laid down in 2005 and commssioned in August 2008. The tenth is expected to be delivered 2023. The eleventh, maybe 2024.

The Bear class WMEC270s were built by two different builders. The first four ships (901-904) were built by Tacoma Boatbuilding, Tacoma, WA, with Bear laid down in August, 1979 and the last of the four commissioned in December, 1984. The remaining nine were built by Derecktor Shipbuilding, Middleton, RI. The first of these laid down June, 1982, and the last of the nine completed in March 1990.

The 16 Reliance class WMEC210s were built by four different builders, with the first laid down in May 1963 and the last commissioned August 1969, less than six years and three months later.

  • The first three, 615-617, were built by Todd Shipyards, Houston, TX.
  • The fourth, 618, by Christy Corp., Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
  • Five, 619, 620, and 628-630, were built at the Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD.
  • Seven, 621-627, were built by American Shipbuilding, Lorain, OH.

WMEC 622 and 628 have since been transferred to Sri Lanka and Colombia respectively. All underwent a major maintenance availability at the Coast Guard Yard between 1984 and 1998.

THE FORCE LAYDOWN:

FIRST DISTRICT: 2 WMEC270s

  • US Naval Shipyard Portsmouth, Kittery, ME: two WMEC270s: Tahoma (908), Campbell (909)

FIFTH DISTRICT: 9 WMEC270s, 2 WMEC210s

  • Portsmouth, VA: 9 WMEC270s: Bear (901), Escanaba (907), Forward (911), Harriet Lane (903, currently in SLEP at CG Yard), Legare (912), Northland (904), Seneca (906) , Spencer (905), Tampa (902)
  • Virginia Beach, VA: WMEC210s: Dependable (626), Vigorous (627)

SEVENTH DISTRICT: 3 National Security Cutters (2 more under construction), 2 WMEC270s, 5 WMEC210s

  • Charleston, SC: 3 NSCs: Hamilton (753), James (754), Stone (758), (two more NSCs building: Calhoun (759), Friedman (760))
  • Naval Station Mayport: 1 WMEC210: Valiant (621)
  • Cape Canaveral: 2 WMEC210s: Confidence (619), Vigilant (617)
  • Key West: 2 WMEC270s: Mohawk (913), Thetis (910)
  • St. Petersburg: 2 WMEC210s: Resolute (620), Venturous (625)

EIGHTH DISTRICT: 4 WMEC210s

  • Pensacola: WMEC210s: Dauntless (624), Decisive (629), Diligence (616), Reliance (615)

ELEVENTH DISTRICT: 4 National Security Cutters

  • Alameda, CA: 4 NSCs: Bertholf (750), Waesche (751), Stratton (752), Munro (755)

THIRTEENTH DISTRICT: 3 WMEC210s

  • Astoria, OR: 2 WMEC210s: Alert (630), Steadfast (623)
  • Port Angeles, WA: 1 WMEC210: Active (618)

FOURTEENTH DISTRICT: 2 National Security Cutters

  • Honolulu, HI: 2 NSCs: Kimball (756), Midgett (757)

SEVENTEENTH DISTRICT

  • Kodiak, AK: 1 WMEC283: Alex Haley (WMEC-39)

OFFSHORE PATROL CUTTER HOMEPORTS

We have heard where the first six OPCs are expected to be homeported.

  • Argus (915) and Chase (916) will go to San Pedro, CA
  • Ingham (917) and Rush (918) will go to Kodiak, AK
  • Pickering (919) and Icarus (920) will go to Newport, RI

 

USCGC Harriet Lane Headed for Service Life Extension Program

USCGC Harriet Lane (WMEC-903), March 17, 2009. US Coast Guard photo.

Below is an Atlantic Area news release. It is about a relatively routine patrol by USCGC Harriet Lane, but there is a bit of news here.

“The crew shifted gears upon return to homeport and met the next challenge of readying Harriet Lane for an important maintenance upgrade cycle…Following this patrol, the vessel will undergo a nine-month planned maintenance and upgrade period at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.”

It is not apparent from the text of the news release, but apparently the cutter arrived in Curtis Bay to be SLEP on March 28. Got that from a photo caption. Sorry no idea when she returned to Portsmouth after the patrol or when she departed for the Yard.

—-Wish these news releases included departure and arrival dates—

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane arrives at the Coast Guard Yard for a service life extension in Baltimore, March 28, 2022. The cutter will remain in Baltimore without the crew for approximately nine months during the overhaul project.

It appears Harriet Lane will be the first of six WMEC-270s to undergo the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) that will keep ships of the class in service until the Offshore Patrol Cutter construction program is expected to be completed in 2038.

“WMEC SLEP includes electrical system upgrades, remanufactured main diesel engines, structural renewal for stern tube and piping, and installation of a new gun weapon system supplied by the U.S. Navy. “

There are still some unanswered questions as to what will be included in the “upgrade.” We know they will loose the 76mm Mk75 gun, replaced by a 25mm Mk38, and presumably the M92 “mini-combat” firecontrol system that also provides the ships an airsearch capability that can be used for helicopter control. Will there be a replacement multi-mode radar? Will they get only one or perhaps two Mk38 guns? Will the ships retain their electronic warfare equipment that can be use in law-enforcement operations? Will they get an Unmanned Air System? Will there be changes to the aviation support equipment to better handle the larger MH-60, as it becomes the shipboard helo of choice? Maybe CG-9 will give us an update in the not too distant future.

Harriet Lane is one of the oldest 270s, commissioned in 1984. (The newest was commissioned in 1991.) She was one of four built by Tacoma Boatbuilding, before the program was switched to Robert Derecktor Shipyard, where the last nine were built. Will all four of the Tacoma Boat built cutters go through the program?

As I noted earlier, assuming the Mk38 gun will be on the bow, it probably should be mounted on a raised platform, with a breakwater, to better protect it from water coming over the bow. It would also allow the weapon to engage targets at closer range.

News Release

USCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrol

USCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrolUSCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrol

USCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrolUSCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrolUSCGC Harriet Lane returns home following 50-day patrol

Editors’ Note: To view more or download high-resolution imagery, click on the photos above.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of USCGC Harriet Lane (WMEC 903) returned to homeport in Portsmouth on Monday, following a 50-day patrol in the North Atlantic Ocean.

While on patrol, the Harriet Lane crew navigated over 6,559 miles along the southeastern coast of the United States, extending as far south as the northern coast of Cuba and east to The Bahamas, performing migrant interdiction and search and rescue operations in support of the U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District.

The Harriet Lane patrolled the Florida Straits to aid with a recent surge in unsafe and illegal migration by sea. The crew interdicted six unseaworthy vessels carrying approximately 467 individuals of Cuban or Haitian origin and cared for more than 520 migrants aboard the cutter during a four-week time span while awaiting logistics for repatriation.

The crew also assisted in two search and rescue cases after receiving notification of an individual stranded on Anguilla Cay, Bahamas and another case where several people were stranded in the water near Cuban territorial waters.

“I remain in awe of this steadfast crew. They answered the call on multiple occasions during our patrol, ensuring safety of life at sea while preventing illegal entry into the United States,” said Cmdr. Ben Goff, commanding officer of the Harriet Lane. “This mission can take an emotional toll, but our team stuck together and persevered through every challenge and adversity presented. The crew shifted gears upon return to homeport and met the next challenge of readying Harriet Lane for an important maintenance upgrade cycle with aplomb. We are forever grateful for the outstanding support we receive across the Coast Guard and from our loved ones at home. I’m looking forward to getting our crew well-earned downtime with friends and family.”

Following this patrol, the vessel will undergo a nine-month planned maintenance and upgrade period at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.

The Harriet Lane is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter responsible for a variety of missions, including search and rescue, drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, other law enforcement and marine environmental protection.

The U.S. Coast Guard national security and medium endurance vessels homeported on the East Coast operate under the ultimate authority of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander located in Portsmouth, Virginia, overseeing all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf.

“Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to homeport after 60-day Eastern Pacific Ocean patrol” –News Release

PHOTOS AVAILABLE: Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to homeport after 60-day Eastern Pacific Ocean patrol

09Feb22 DILIGENCE conducting small boat training in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (Credit: BM3 Cayne Wattigney)

Below is a D8 news release. Sounds like a pretty typical WMEC Eastern Pacific patrol, but I would point out something I think is a bit unusual–they carried no helicopter. Awning over the flight deck and no mention of HITRON in the news release. Was this because of H-65 availability or because adequate air support was available from land bases? Maybe some other difficulty? Without a helicopter there is no armed overwatch and no way to chase down boats that may be faster than ship’s boats.

Looks like they left homeport a few days before Christmas.

 

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 8th District Heartland

Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to homeport after 60-day Eastern Pacific Ocean patrol

Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to homeport after 60-day Eastern Pacific Ocean patrol 2/2 Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to homeport after 60-day Eastern Pacific Ocean patrol

Editor’s Note: Click on images to download high-resolution version.

PENSACOLA, Fla. — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned to their homeport of Pensacola Sunday following a 60-day counter-drug patrol in Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Partnering with three other Coast Guard cutters, Diligence interdicted three suspected drug-smuggling vessels resulting in the apprehension of 12 detainees and the interdiction of more than 4,321 lbs of cocaine with a street value of approximately $82 million.

“Diligence’s crew demonstrated professionalism, resilience and perseverance while conducting complex high-speed boat pursuits in the drug transit zone,” said Cmdr. Jared Trusz, Diligence’s commanding officer. “I am honored to serve with and proud of the crew’s superlative efforts that directly support the United States national security interests.”

Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.

The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, California. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The Diligence is a 210-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Pensacola with78 crewmembers. The cutter’s primary missions are counter-drug operations, migrant interdiction, enforcing federal fishery laws and search and rescue in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.