CG Response to Hurricane Matthew in Caribbean


Photo: USCGC Hamilton (WMSL-753) (left) and USCGC Raymond Evans (WPC-1110)

A quick review of what is happening.

A Coast Guard aircraft has done a damage assessment in Haiti. News release here.


PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2004)–Coast Guard cutter CYPRESS, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Mobile, Ala.

USCGC Cypress (WLB-210) is enroute. Additional aviation assets and two flood punt teams from Memphis, Tennessee are being staged at AVTRACEN Mobile. News release here.

Cutter Hamilton (WMSL-753) is in the area and is being augmented with additional Coast Guard medical personnel transported to GITMO by a C-130. Additionally “Coast Guard (air) crew members launched Thursday to transport personnel and supplies to support post Hurricane Matthew relief efforts in Great Inagua, Bahamas and other areas qffected by the storm.”

Another Very Different Candidate for “Cutter X”

Click on photo to enlarge

The Australian Navy has had problems with their Armidale class patrol boats. These little ships, similar to the Coast Guard’s Webber Class WPCs (Fast Response Cutters), have been sent great distances to enforce Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations. They are really are not up to the task, so Australia has been planning a larger class. In addition to the fourteen Armidale patrol vessels, they hope to use the same class to also replace six Huon-class minehunter, two Leeuwin-class survey vessel, and four Paluma-class survey motor launch.

This projected class of 20 larger ships is referred to as the Offshore Combatant Vessel.

No design has been chosen yet as far as I can tell, but Austal is a local firm (with a shipyard in the US as well) that probably has an inside track. Their design referred to as a “Multi-Purpose Vessel,” is a bit unusual, but it might be appropriate to use as a USCG cutter to fill the space between the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and the Webber class WPCs, that I have been referring to as “Cutter X.”

It looks a bit like a scaled down Independence class LCS, not surprising since the Independence class are also made by Austal. It, like the Independence design, is a trimaran hull with lots of clear helicopter operating area and a hangar, as well as a large open area under the flight deck for modular systems, or perhaps in our case transporting migrants. Looks like they could also be very useful for Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response (HADR) Mission.

Austal 80 meter Multi-Role Vessel

Austal 80 meter Multi-Role Vessel

Click on photo to enlarge

Length overall 80 meters (262.5 feet)
Length (waterline) 78.8 meters
Beam (moulded) 21.1 meters (69.2 feet)
Depth (moulded) 6.7 meters
Hull draft 3.2 meters (10.5 feet)
Mission deck 500m2 (5382 sq.ft.)
Flight Deck area 290m2 (3122 sq.ft.)
Hangar 1 x NH-90 (a 23,370 lb gross weight helicopter) or similar
Complement 35
Crew accommodation 87 berth
Endurance 28 days
Range 4,500nm @ 12 knots
Speed (max) 26 knots
Main engines 3 x MTU 20V 4000 @ 4,300kW at 2,170 rpm Diesel engines
(Same engines used in the Webber class)
Propulsion 3 x fixed pitch propellers
Weapons and Sensors •Standard 25mm stabilized naval gun
(the artist concept actually shows a 57mm)
•4 x .50 cal general purpose machine gun mounts

Austal 80 meter Multi-Purpose Vessel

Austal 80 meter Multi-Purpose Vessel

Click on photo to enlarge

Thanks to JamesWF for reminding me of this design.

Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) Ship Proposal

The Naval Institute Blog has an interesting proposal for re-purposing Navy ships that are planned to be decommissioned specifically for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. This would include partnership station and cooperation with NGOs.

There are some issues that come up. The Navy ships, frequently get used, because they are already in the area. How many repurposed NA/DR ships can you have and where will they be stationed? If they are Navy manned won’t their still be suspicions about their purpose? These are really big ships, there are lots of places they can’t go because of their draft.

After Katrina, Haiti, and now Japan, I can’t help but think the CG is part of the solution. If nothing else a container hosting capability on the Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC) and some “hospital ship” and “disaster command post” modules in storage.