The US Coast Guard on Thursday commissioned three new fast response cutters homeported on Guam.
Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, during a July 29 news teleconference, said the three newly commissioned fast response cutters are the Myrtle Hazard, the Oliver Henry, and the Frederick Hatch.
“These cutters are considerably more capable than the legacy 110-foot Island-class patrol boats they replaced, and it was actually two patrol boats here before. We’ve added three here. A little bit of the differences: These are 44-foot-long around the waterline, eight additional crew, a hundred tons additional tonnage, and seakeeping capability. So tremendously capable ships for the region,” Schultz said.
The admiral emphasized that the three fast cutters add increased reach as the USCG continues to do partner capacity-building as it protects sovereign U.S. interests in the region, including Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and American Samoa.
“When you reflect on both the geographic and economic importance of the region, this is an area that encompasses 1.3 million square miles or 43 percent of what we call our U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. And really, more than half of the world’s commerce and half of the world’s population is over here in the Indo-Pacific region,” Schultz said.
These fast response cutters will do all kinds of myriad missions. They’ll detect, deter, and suppress illegal, unregulated – unreported, unregulated fishing. They’ll counter other maritime transnational shipments of illicit narcotics or other products. They’ll promote rules-based maritime governance. They’ll safeguard a free and open Indo-Pacific, and help achieve the national security objectives in the Micronesia region.
“Further, our highly trained, professional crews of these cutters will call on Pacific Island country ports. They’ll embark host nation ship riders, and those engagements further strengthen our relationships and bolster the partnerships we have throughout Oceania. And these cutters are here to stay. They’re permanently based in Apra Harbor,” Schultz said.
Aside from the commissioning of the three new cutters, the USCG also redesignated what was historically called Coast Guard Sector Guam, which is now redesignated as Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam.
“That demonstrates our enduring commitment to really a broader whole-of-government approach with these increasingly capable platforms in an area of the globe that’s increasingly important from a geostrategic standpoint,” the admiral said.