Uruguay receives three Marine Protector-class patrol boats from US Coast Guard
On 15 December 2021, Admiral Jorge Wilson, Commander of the Uruguayan Navy, signed a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) finalizing the agreement between the United States and Uruguay and allowing Uruguay to accept three Marine Protector-class vessels.
As informed, the three vessels from the US Coast Guard (USCG), Albacore (WPB-87309), Cochito (WPD-87329), and Gannet (WPB-87334), were all commissioned between 1999 and 2009. The original cost of the vessels was $14.3 million and the current estimated value is $8.6 million.
Uruguay will receive the vessels as a no-cost grant but, in accordance with US law, will be responsible for paying $4.9 million for the vessels’ refurbishment, and for training for Uruguayan Navy, personnel to employ the ships.
“We began working with Admiral Wilson and the Uruguayan Navy about the possibility of donating these vessels in June of 2020,” said Colonel Brian Symon, Senior Defense Official at the U.S. Embassy Montevideo.
“Our Office of Defense Cooperation is proud that this process is moving forward after more than a year of close coordination between our two Embassies, their Ministry of Defense, ESMADE and the Navy.”
The 27-meter-long ships have a range of 900 nautical miles, a top speed of 25 knots, and served in the US on missions including homeland security, combating drug smuggling, immigration enforcement, marine fisheries enforcement, and search and rescue support.
Each ship will include a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) that can be launched from the stern of the larger vessel via an innovative launch and recovery system. This capability will allow for crews to quickly intercept, inspect and/or board other vessels while on patrol without stopping, according to the USCG.
The three specific vessels that Uruguay will receive, now decommissioned by the US Coast Guard, were homeported in Connecticut, Virginia, and Florida, the officials revealed.
The project is part of the Uruguayan Navy’s Fleet Modernization plan. Under the new program, Uruguay also plans to buy two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for around $100 million.