The US Coast Guard handed over its decommissioned cutter USCGC Sherman to the Sri Lanka Navy in a ceremony on August 27.
The ceremony was presided over by Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe, Sri Lankan Navy commander, and Rear Admiral Michael Haycock of the US Coast Guard.
The cutter was gifted to Sri Lanka under the Foreign Assistance Act which allows the transfer of excess defense articles as a grant to friendly, foreign governments.
At 115 meters, it will be the largest ship in the Sri Lankan fleet and strengthen defense cooperation between the United States and Sri Lanka.
For over a month, 110 Sri Lankan sailors have been training with the Sherman’s crew on operating the vessel. The handover builds on Sri Lanka’s first-ever participation in the US Pacific Fleet exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018 in July and will increase interoperability between the two navies.
The sail-away date for the cutter will be in February 2019. Overhaul and maintenance, as well as the training of the crew, will continue until then. The gift of the cutter was first announced by former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon during the US-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue in November 2017.
The new ship will join the SLNS Samudura, also a former US Coast Guard vessel that was gifted to Sri Lanka in 2004.