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Coast Guard begins process to transfer boats to Uruguay

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Vice Adm. Paul Thomas, Coast Guard deputy commandant for mission support, and Ambassador Andrés Durán Hareau, Uruguay ambassador to the United States, sign the documents transferring title to three decommissioned Coast Guard patrol boats to the Uruguay Navy Feb. 10, 2022. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Ronald Hodges.


Vice Adm. Paul Thomas, Coast Guard deputy commandant for mission support, and Ambassador Andrés Durán Hareau, Uruguay ambassador to the United States, commemorated the upcoming transfer of three 87-foot Protector-class patrol boats to Uruguay in a ceremony today at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Uruguay was selected to receive former Coast Guard Cutters Albacore, Cochito and Gannet by the Navy International Programs Office and signed a $5 million Letter of Offer and Acceptance Dec. 15, 2021. The transfer is facilitated through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) Program of the Coast Guard’s Office of International Acquisition.

The Coast Guard, as a maritime partner of choice, is committed to assisting Uruguay authorities by supporting bilateral activities in the shared interest of the security and operational environment of the Southern Atlantic Ocean.

Thomas called the transfer a win-win situation, helping Uruguay to swiftly enhance their maritime security while forging an international partnership “that fosters greater global maritime security for us all.” He said he has no doubt that the Protector-class patrol boats – 64 of which are still in operation in the Coast Guard – will be an effective addition to the Uruguayan Navy.

The former cutters will undergo maintenance, upgrades and outfitting at Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore. Members of the Uruguay Navy will also be trained in the operation and maintenance of the vessels. Once work on the vessels and training are complete, the Uruguay Navy crewmembers will sail the patrol boats to Uruguay, with arrival anticipated in July 2022.

The 87-foot Protector-class patrol boat is an innovative, multi-mission vessel used by the Coast Guard to perform search and rescue, law enforcement, fishery patrols, drug interdiction, illegal immigrant interdiction and homeland security duties up to 200 miles offshore. These are the first boats of this class transferred to a foreign partner nation through EDA. The three vessels going to Uruguay were commissioned between 1999 and 2009 and homeported in Connecticut, Virginia and Florida.

Hareau expressed his deep gratitude to the Coast Guard for the transfer of the boats to the Uruguay Navy, which is in the process of upgrading its fleet to be better poised “to protect our coasts, and to protect human life at sea, and fight transnational crimes like drug trafficking and illegal fishing.” He said the Protector-class boats would replace two 95-foot Cape-class patrol boats transferred to Uruguay in 1990 under the predecessor to the EDA program. Those boats are now more than 60 years old.

EDA transfers are a valuable tool in a larger security cooperation program that enables the Coast Guard to make significant contributions to building and sustaining global maritime partnerships in support of our national maritime strategy. These patrol boats will help Uruguay expand capability in several critical areas, including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and fisheries enforcement.

Former Coast Guard Cutters Albacore, Cochito and Gannet are among six cutters currently at Coast Guard Yard awaiting upgrade and outfitting before transfer to Uruguay and Lebanon. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

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For more information: Office of International Acquisition Program page