The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a transfer ceremony of the former cutters Long Island and Roanoke Island to Costa Rica’s National Coast Guard Service in Caldera, Costa Rica, on October 13th. Costa Rica is the third nation to receive 110-foot patrol boats through the U.S. Office of International Acquisition’s Excess Defense Articles (EDA) Program.
“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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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.
Each 110-foot patrol boat transfer saves the U.S. Coast Guard money in remediation and disposal costs. EDA transfers also help build and sustain international partnerships in support of the U.S. Coast Guard’s national maritime strategy and promote regional and global maritime safety and security.
The former cutters Long Island and Roanoke Island were previously based in Alaska and were decommissioned in 2015. The multi-mission 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.