US Coast Guard transfers two Island-class cutters to Costa Rica

The US Coast Guard has officially transferred two 110-foot patrol boats to the Costa Rican Coast Guard through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program.

The transfer ceremony of the former cutters Long Island and Roanoke Island took place in Caldera, Costa Rica, on October 13.

Costa Rica is the third nation to receive the 110-foot patrol boats which are being gradually decommissioned by the US Coast Guard.

“This area is the heart of maritime transit zones for illicit drugs, and we will help protect the waterways from illegal fishing. This critical milestone will underscore Costa Rica’s commitment to becoming a regional leader in the fight against drug trafficking, illegal fishing and other illicit activities,” said Sharon Day, U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica.

Long Island and Roanoke Island are the fifth and sixth 110-foot patrol boats transferred to a foreign partner nation. The Coast Guard will provide new equipment to outfit the cutters, and technical and training services through the foreign military sales program before the Costa Rican Coast Guard sails the cutters from the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, to reach Costa Rica in spring 2018.

“With this new equipment, Costa Rica strengthens its capacity to carry out anti-narcotic operations, humanitarian actions and marine biodiversity conservation activities,” said Gustavo Mata, Costa Rican minister of public security.

The Coast Guard transferred two 110-foot patrol boats to the Georgian coast guard in September 2016 and two to the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency in December 2016.

The former cutters Long Island and Roanoke Island were previously based in Alaska and were decommissioned in 2015. The multimission 110-foot Island-class patrol boats entered service in the mid-1980s; 23 of the 49 cutters originally in the class remain in service. The ships are being replaced with 58 154-foot fast response cutters, 23 of which are in service.

Luis Gustavo Mata Vega, Costa Rican minister of public security (center) cuts a cake shaped like a 110-foot patrol boat Oct. 13, 2017, to celebrate the transfer of two of the ships to Costa Rica. Photo: US Coast Guard