Senior officials of the Bollinger Shipyards LLC (Bollinger) were on hand in Apra Harbor Guam yesterday for the commissioning ceremony of three U.S. Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters (FRCs), USCGC Myrtle Hazard, USCGC Oliver Henry and USCGC Frederick Hatch.
The three FRCs build out and strengthen the United States’ strategic presence in the Indo-Pacific and are there “as a response to coercive and antagonistic behaviors from China” in the region, according to U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz, who was also present at the ceremony.
“The Fast Response Cutter’s capabilities are unrivaled by any ship of similar size in the world today. Whether off the coast of Miami, in the Middle East operating in the Northern Arabian Gulf, or here in the Pacific, Bollinger Built Fast Response Cutters are exceeding all expectations in mission effectiveness, endurance and capability,” said Charles “Skip” Bowen, Vice President of Government Relations at Bollinger.
Cutters Hazard, Henry and Hatch represent the 162nd, 163rd and the 166th cutters that Bollinger has built for the Coast Guard over a 36-year period. The majority of the builds occurred despite the COVID-19 global pandemic and six named storms impacting the Gulf region, all of which affected Louisiana and two of which made landfall in the state as hurricanes, including Hurricane Laura – a Category 4 storm and the strongest to hit the state since the Great Storm of 1856.
Despite these challenges, Bollinger undertook precautions to ensure the health and safety of employees and maintained its record of on-time deliveries to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard took delivery of the 154-foot USCGC Frederick Hatch in Key West, Florida in February before embarking on the 69-day, 11,400 nautical mile journey to Apra Harbor. It joined its sister cutters, USCGC Hazard and USCGC Henry, that arrived in Guam in September and December of last year, respectively.
The FRC is an operational “game changer,” according to senior Coast Guard officials. FRCs are consistently being deployed in support of the full range of missions within the United States Coast Guard and other branches of our armed services.
This is due to its exceptional performance, expanded operational reach and capabilities, and ability to transform and adapt to the mission. FRCs have conducted operations as far as the Marshall Islands—a 4,400 nautical mile trip from their homeport.
Measuring in at 154-feet, FRCs have a flank speed of 28 knots, state of the art C4ISR suite (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), and stern launch and recovery ramp for a 26-foot, over-the-horizon interceptor cutter boat.