Friday, May 5, 2017

USCG to Base Two New Cutters in Oregon

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard will homeport two of the service’s new Sentinel-Class 154-foot Fast Response Cutters (FRC) in Astoria, Oregon, starting in 2021, the USCG announced April 28. The two ships have not yet been named, but FRCs are typically dubbed after enlisted Coast Guard personnel who distinguished themselves in the line of duty.

The Coast Guard has said that each of the two Astoria-based FRCs would provide the coastal maritime community with a 30 percent increase in annual operating hours on regional waters over the Coast Guard’s legacy 110-foot Island class patrol boats like the Coast Guard Cutter Orcas, which are homeported in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Fast Response Cutters are equipped, according to the USCG, with better command and control capability and increased sea-keeping abilities, operational range, a larger crew and higher transit speeds than the aging patrol boats.

A larger, more capable stern-launch cutter boat allows the FRC to conduct search-and-rescue and interdiction operations up to 50 miles away from the cutter, the Coast Guard said, which greatly extends the vessel’s reach over the USCG’s legacy patrol boat fleet.

The Coast Guard says that the Orca cutters are expected to continue operating out of Coos Bay until replaced by the first of the Astoria-based FRCs in 2021, and that potential homeport sites are currently being considered within Astoria for the two as-yet-to-be-named FRCs.