US ship to arrive in Philippines to help secure maritime domains

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A third Hamilton-class weather high endurance cutter from the United States is set to arrive this year, which will further boost the Philippine Navy’s capability to secure the country’s vast maritime domains, according to Manila Bulletin.

The US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Boutwell (WHEC 719) is scheduled to be decommissioned in a ceremony to be held March 16 at Naval Base San Diego, California, after 48 years of service.

Boutwell is one of the two ships that US President Barack Obama promised to provide the country during the APEC 2015 summit in Manila

The USCG said it is working with the US Department of State to transfer Boutwell to the Philippine Navy as part of a Foreign Military Sale Programme through the Foreign Assistance Act.

Navy public affairs office chief Capt. Lued Lincuna said they are expecting the delivery of the ship this year.

It may be recalled that Obama announced the transfer of two ships to the Philippine Navy after touring the BRP Gregorio del Pilar – also a former USCG cutter transferred through the Office of International Acquisition’s Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program – in Manila lastNov. 17.

The two ships referred to by Obama are the 378-foot USCGC Boutwell and the research vessel Melville, a former US Navy vessel.