11 December, 2013

After 45 years of service, the Coast Guard cutter Gallatin finished its last patrol Wednesday, slipping up to a pier in North Charleston where its 170-member crew was greeted by family members and a dozen members of the Patriot Guard holding American flags.

The aging cutter, commissioned in 1968, will be decommissioned next year and transferred to the Nigerian Navy. Last year, the 45-year-old cutter Dallas, which also was based in South Carolina, was decommissioned and transferred to the Philippine Navy.

Next year, Coast Guard Sector Charleston will become the home port for the Hamilton, one of the new generation of Coast Guard national security cutters and the first of its class based on the East Coast. Three of the new cutters are already based in California.

During its last patrol, Gallatin crew
members boarded three vessels, seizing 24,000 pounds of cocaine valued at almost $34 million in international waters in the Caribbean. Two of the boats that
were boarded were fishing vessels; the third was a go-fast, a long narrow boat capable of high speeds.

Petty Officer Cliff Lewis, who participated in the seizures, said go-fasts try to elude detection, traveling without navigation lights at night. The fishing boats, he said, simply try to hide the contraband on board. During the patrol, the Gallatin’s helicopter had to chase the go-fast and fire shots disabling the vessel’s engine before it stopped, he said.

Ensign Andrew Wright and Seaman Julian Cubides also participated in the seizures. Wright said that in recent years, most of what the Coast Guard seizes at sea is cocaine. “With marijuana being legal these days in some places in the states, it’s just not as popular to traffic,” he said.

Cubides was one of the nation’s service personnel who received a thank-you call from President Obama on Thanksgiving. “He gave me a big thumbs-up and said I was doing a good job and told me to relate to the crew they are doing a good job,” Cubides said.

“He talked to me a little bit about the Dolphins and the Heat. I’m a big Miami fan – that’s where I grew up. But other than that he just said good

While the new national security cutters are bigger and faster than the Gallatin, they can be operated by a crew of about 110, said Capt. Douglas Fears, who will be the first commander of the Hamilton during the finish of its construction, its shakedown and commissioning. The new cutters also have longer range
and state-of-the art surveillance

“If you were to compare a 1968 Ford
Mustang with a 2013 Mustang they are still a car with very similar features,” he said. “But the degree of system integration, the efficiencies, the performance — all those things kind of translate to what you get with a new ship.”


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. Spirit says:

    I cant wait to see this new ship in service with NN and with pennant number F91.

    Its an honor to have the sister of the 45 year old Thunder that can still travel 15,000km

    I eagerly await the day they will carry befitting armaments.

    • beegeagle says:

      15,000 miles (24,000kms) outbound, 30,000 miles (48,000 kms) return. She is good to go.

      Do not forget that these Hamilton-class ships were massively refurbished and upgraded in the 1990s and for international service, they feature pretty contemporary systems. That some of those get deleted prior to the transfer of this class of ships says a lot.

      What we need do is look to Israel for compatible systems with which to beef up the ship and the vetted NNS Thunder F90 to Nigerian requirements.

      That said, good to meet you here again, Spirit…faithful pioneer of Beegeagle’s Blog.

      • Max Montero says:

        General Beeg, what is the timeline of the Gallatin turn-over to Nigeria? Israel offered the Philippine Navy some of their systems that can be used to upgrade the PN’s Hamilton ships, if I’m not mistaken the Barak system was included. Besides Israel, the US and even Korea also made some offers as well. The PN’s ships may be undergoing a “SLEP” program probably next year which will improve the ship’s surveillance, EW, machinery, electronics and electrical systems, propulsion and weapons systems to include ASW and surface warfare systems. Whoever starts such program (Philippines, Nigeria and Bangladesh) would be worth checking out.


    • Are James says:

      This would be a great gift from Uncle Sam, a long range sea going platform. Hope Nigeria would not be restricted as to what new systems we can deploy on them though. I want to see some SAM’s and long range SSMs on this monster

  2. ifiok umoeka says:

    Greetings, I can’t wait. Not that this is the best I hope but anything (not that a hamilton is nothing) is better than nothing. Most of what is deleted are secured comm and radar. But my worry has been that the US traditionally box u in when it comes to upgrading their stuff. Its common knowledge that this ladies can carry a mean load across the spectrum but will they let us go Israeli? Perhaps the other quesn would be, do we want to make her up with Israeli cosmetics surgery or any other cosmetics for that matter? Do we want her beautiful for us? We will have to wait and see. Till then, 13 kposa 4 the NN and FRN, on ward 2gether. 2014 will indeed be a great year for us.

    • beegeagle says:

      Rhythm, bro! So let it be written, so let it be done. We are finally getting away from being strapped to the woodwork.

      – two 32 metre vessels on order

      – a 38 metre ship under construction by the NN

      – five or seven 35 metre Sentinel Fast Patrol Vessels for fisheries protection

      – two 1800 ton stealth OPVs coming

      – the 3,250 ton USCGC Gallatin (hope we name her “NNS Centenary” since one Nigeria was amalgamated in 1914 – one hundred years ago next year)

      – the 2,054 ton USNS John McDonnell, a hydrographic survey ship which might also double as an OPV so that she does not get under-utilised between survey missions.

      So 2014 will be the year of the big ships for our resurgent Nigerian Navy. I look forward to seeing these big ladies phased into NN service

      And if it is true that the contract for two Type 056 (P18N) stealth OPVs goes with an option for the delivery of ten more OPVs and corvettes, we are surely now ready to punch in sync with our weight and are firmly on the cusp of becoming a very significant greenwater navy.

  3. rka says:

    @Oga Beeg, the option for 10 more OPVs and Corvettes in the contract, is it via a reliable source or just conjecture?

    I know there are plans for 20 OPVs in the navy’s 10 year plan, but it would be great if ink has already been put to paper even if just as options.

  4. beegeagle says:

    Meanwhile, the NNS Thunder recently left the Walvis Bay Naval Bay in Namibia on the return leg of her epic 30,000 mile return voyage to Australia.


  5. Oje says:

    Naija Navy finally Sailing. These two vessels alone will make the Nigerian Naval fleet among the most modern in Africa. Retrofitted with anti ship missiles and SAMS her unlimited range will make a a sea Monster.

  6. jimmy says:

    This is making my Friday a good one .THANK YOU UNCLE SAM.

  7. ifiok umoeka says:

    Oga Beegs, pls can u post a pic of the oceanography vessel, I saw it somewhere and it did look beautiful.
    As a thought, since the P18N are a modular design, what stops us from growing that design to say 2400tn giving ample room for any future upgrade (like the Israeli barak and the radar they use on their SAAR 5) as well as for better sea faring?

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