US transfers two cutters to Georgian Coast Guard

The U.S. has transferred ownership of two former U.S. Coast Guard cutters, Jefferson Island and Staten Island, to the Georgian Coast Guard in a ceremony at the Coast Guard yard in Maryland, on September 30.

Jefferson Island and Staten Island, whose new names are Ochamchire and Dioskuria, are scheduled to be shipped to Georgia in summer 2017 after completing maintenance, upgrades, outfitting and training of Georgian coast guard crews in the Baltimore area.

The Coast Guard said it would provide new equipment and technical and training services worth $5.3 million under a Foreign Military Sales letter of offer and acceptance with Georgia.

The event marked the Office of International Acquisition’s first transfer of 110-foot patrol boats to a friendly nation through the Excess Defense Articles program, it was further added.

“The transfer of these boats will significantly enhance Georgia’s capacity to monitor and secure its coastline, and make Georgia a stronger bulwark against regional and transnational threats,” said Nicholas Berliner, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, in his ceremony remarks.

Each 110-foot patrol boat transfer also saves the Coast Guard approximately $400,000 in remediation and disposal costs.

The Coast Guard decommissioned Jefferson Island and Staten Island in October 2014. The multimission 110-foot patrol boats entered service in the mid-1980s. Of the 49 original Island-class vessels, 27 remain in service. The Coast Guard is replacing the ships with 58 154-foot fast response cutters, 18 of which are in service.