The US Coast Guard has accepted delivery of its newest Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143) from Bollinger Shipyards in Key West, Florida.
The Coast Guard said that the vessel was delivered in early February 2021. Frederick Hatch is scheduled to be the third FRC stationed in Guam and will arrive in Santa Rita during the summer.
The cutter was placed in commission, special status, and will remain in Florida while the crew completes pre-commissioning trials and maintenance.
Cmdr. Josh Empen, deputy sector commander of the Coast Guard Sector Guam, said: “The fast response cutters in the Pacific are a game-changer for the Coast Guard.
“Frederick Hatch will be the third fast response cutter in Guam, joining the […] Myrtle Hazard (WPC-1139) and Oliver Henry (WPC-1140) who have already saved mariners in distress at sea, intercepted narcotics, and boarded several vessels to deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Oceania. These cutters are conducting longer missions over greater distances than the older patrol boats they are replacing”.
The Coast Guard added that, by replacing the older 110-foot Island-class patrol boats formerly stationed in Guam, the Frederick Hatch represented its commitment to modernising the service’s cutter fleet.
As for the FRCs, they boast a wide array of improvements over its predecessors including advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems designed to assist the cutter’s crew with their primary mission to patrol coastal regions.
These advanced capabilities greatly improve the Coast Guard’s ability to conduct missions ranging from SAR to national defence within Guam’s waters while also contributing to joint operations between the United States and its regional partners as they work towards common goals such as the preservation of Pacific fish stocks.
Lt. Craig Rooke, the Frederick Hatch’s commanding officer, added: “All of our accomplishments to date are due to the tremendous amount of hard work our crew has put into this process. They continue to amaze me every day with their great attitude and their tremendous effort that they have been putting into the pre-commission process”.
In keeping with the tradition of naming new FRCs after Coast Guard enlisted heroes, the cutter is named in honour of Frederick Hatch, a two-time recipient of the Gold Lifesaving Medal.
Hatch was awarded his first medal in 1884 while he was a surfman at the Cleveland Life-Saving Station for rescuing the crew of the schooner Sophia Minch during an October gale. During the rescue, Hatch volunteered to attempt to reach two men caught in the aft rigging of the vessel. At great risk to his own life, he reached the two men and was able to bring them safely to shore.
Later, he received the Gold Lifesaving Medal for his selfless act of courage as he rescued those on board the schooner Wahnapitae which grounded near the Cleveland Breakwater lighthouse in 1890.
With the addition of Frederick Hatch’s 24-person crew, there will be over 70 new Coast Guard FRC members stationed in Guam along with a projected 100 dependents and family members. Before the FRCs arrival, the Coast Guard presence on Guam was composed of approximately 250 active-duty personnel and 40 reservists.
In related news, the US Coast Guard recently awarded Bollinger Shipyards a contract for the construction of four additional Sentinel-class fast response cutters (FRC).
This brings the total number of FRCs awarded to Bollinger to up to 60 vessels since the program’s inception. The USCG’s Program of Record is to procure 64 FRCs.