Sri Lanka Navy's largest vessel is gifted from US Coast Guard
Aug 29, 2018 18:15 PM GMT+0530 | 1 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - The US Coast Guard has gifted Sri Lanka a high-endurance cutter which will become the largest vessel in the island's navy fleet.
The 115m cutter, formerly known as USCGC Sherman, was handed over to Sri Lanka Navy's Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe at Honolulu, Hawaii last Monday.
"The cutter, a gift from the people of the United States, will be the largest ship in the Sri Lankan fleet and strengthens defense cooperation between the United States and Sri Lanka," The US Embassy said in a statement Wednesday.
"The ship will increase Sri Lanka’s ability to patrol its Exclusive Economic Zone, providing additional security for ships from all nations that transit the busy sea lanes of the Indian Ocean," it said.
When fully staffed the cutter carries a crew of 167.
The Hamilton Class vessels originally built in the late 1960s but refitted later with new guns and electronics are being de-commissioned by the US. Similar vessels have been gifted to Vietnam, Phillippines and Bangladesh.
Sri Lankan sailors have been training with the Sherman’s crew on operating the vessel for over a month.
The handover builds on Sri Lanka’s first-ever participation in the U.S. Pacific Fleet exercise—Rim of the Pacific 2018—in July and will increase interoperability between the two navies, the US Embassy said.
The sail-away date for the cutter will be in February 2019 and it will join the SLNS Samudura, also a former U.S. Coast guard vessel that was gifted to Sri Lanka in 2004. (COLOMBO, 29 August 2018)