U.S. Coast Guard press release
Vice Adm. Paul Thomas, Coast Guard deputy commandant for mission support, and Ambassador Andrés Durán Hareau, Uruguay ambassador to the United States, commemorated the upcoming transfer of three 87-foot Protector-class patrol boats to Uruguay in a ceremony today at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Uruguay was selected to receive former Coast Guard Cutters Albacore, Cochito, and Gannet by the Navy International Programs Office and signed a $5 million Letter of Offer and Acceptance Dec. 15, 2021. The transfer is facilitated through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) Program of the Coast Guard’s Office of International Acquisition.
The Coast Guard, as a maritime partner of choice, is committed to assisting Uruguay authorities by supporting bilateral activities in the shared interest of the security and operational environment of the Southern Atlantic Ocean.
Thomas called the transfer a win-win situation, helping Uruguay to swiftly enhance its maritime security while achieving the goals of both nations. He said the patrol boats are still a crucial asset in the Coast Guard fleet, with 64 still in operation.
The former cutters will undergo maintenance, upgrades, and outfitting at Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore. Members of the Uruguay Navy will also be trained in the operation and maintenance of the vessels. Once work on the vessels and training is complete, the Uruguay Navy crewmembers will sail the patrol boats to Uruguay, with arrival anticipated in July 2022.
The 87-foot Protector-class patrol boat is an innovative, multi-mission vessel used by the Coast Guard to perform search and rescue, law enforcement, fishery patrols, drug interdiction, illegal immigrant interdiction, and homeland security duties up to 200 miles offshore. These are the first boats of this class transferred to a foreign partner nation through EDA. The three vessels going to Uruguay were commissioned between 1999 and 2009 and homeported in Connecticut, Virginia, and Florida.
Hareau expressed his deep gratitude to the USCG for the transfer to the Uruguay Navy, which is in the process of upgrading its fleet. He said the patrol boats would replace two 95-foot Cape-class patrol boats transferred to Uruguay in 1990 under the predecessor to the EDA program. Those boats are now more than 60 years old.
EDA transfers are a valuable tool in a larger security cooperation program that enables the USCG to make significant contributions to building and sustaining global maritime partnerships in support of our national maritime strategy. These patrol boats will help Uruguay expand its capability in several critical areas, including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, and fisheries enforcement.