Tag Archives: island class

Ukraine picks up a couple scratch-and-dent 110s

Last week the U.S. Coast Guard transferred a pair of two former 110-foot Island-class patrol boat cutters, the ex-USCGC Drummond (WPB-1323) and ex-USCGC Cushing (WPB-1321), during a ceremony at Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.

Note the racing stripes are gone

Attending were Coast Guard VADM Michael McAllister, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko. Although it should be noted that the actual transfer will take place in 2019, after some maintenance, and training of their new Ukrainian crews.

Poroshenko is the gray-haired guy on the stern, looking toward the camera.

On the same day as the transfer, Poroshenko tweeted, “Having faced a opposition on the land, Russia is testing waters for a possible offensive from the sea. Like a hooligan at the street, Moscow makes a blow, if no reaction follows then it makes another blow. The task is to reassure Kremlin of our resolve to protect Ukraine’s shores.”

Cushing, long homeported in Atlantic Beach, was decommissioned last March after 29 years’ service. Drummond, who spent a very busy career in the Florida Straits as she was stationed in Miami Beach, struck last year after 30 years working for Uncle. They aren’t the first 110s sent to the Black Sea, as Georgia picked up a pair in 2016.

2-for-1 swap on cutters this month

The Coast Guard held a joint decommissioning ceremony Wednesday for the North Carolina-based “Graveyard Enforcers,” a pair of 110-foot Island-class patrol boats USCGC Cushing (WPB-1321) and USCGC Nantucket (WPB-1316) in Atlantic Beach, NC.

The ceremony honored 30 years of the cutters’ service to the Coast Guard. The 110s were originally designed to last 15-20 years, so they both served well beyond their intended service life.

From CG:


The Cushing was the 21st 110-foot Island Class cutter built by Bollinger shipyard in Lockport, Louisiana, and commissioned on Dec. 1, 1988. Cushing’s first homeport was Mobile, Alabama, followed by San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cushing moved permanently to Atlantic Beach in 2015. Cushing was built primarily as a platform for law enforcement, but conducted missions including maritime homeland security, migrant interdiction, fisheries enforcement and search and rescue.


The Nantucket was the 16th 110-foot Island Class cutter built by Bollinger shipyard in Lockport, Louisiana and commissioned in 1987. Nantucket’s first homeport was Miami, followed by Key West, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Petersburg, Florida. Nantucket was moved permanently to Atlantic Beach in 2014. Nantucket was built primarily as a platform for law enforcement, but conducted missions including maritime homeland security, migrant interdiction, fisheries enforcement and search and rescue.

“Today is a great day because we’re celebrating not only Cushing and Nantucket but the crews who maintained them throughout the years,” said Lt. Mario Gil, commanding officer of the Cushing.

The cutters will transit to the Coast Guard Yard where they will undergo a final decommissioning process. From there they may be considered for various options such as being placed for sale on GSA Auctions or foreign transfer. This has been an ongoing process with this class that has seen two of the former WPBs put into service with the Sea Shepherd (Whale Wars) group while others have gone to Georgia and Costa Rica.

The same week, Fifth Coast Guard District (Mid-Atlantic) welcomed the 158-foot Sentinel (Webber)-class Fast Response Cutter USCGC Lawrence Lawson (WPC-1120) to the area, set for her official commissioning ceremony in Cape May, N.J., next week.

Former Island-class patrol boat gets a camo makeover and tequila christening

USCGC Block Island (WPB-1344) was sold at auction in 2015 to Sea Shepherd, who used her briefly as MY Jules Verne and now as MY John Paul DeJoria (Photo: Sea Shepherd)

USCGC Block Island (WPB-1344) was sold at auction in 2015 to Sea Shepherd, who used her briefly as MY Jules Verne and now as MY John Paul DeJoria (Photo: Sea Shepherd)

USCGC Block Island (WPB-1344) and the USCGC Pea Island (WPB-1347), two late model 110-foot Island class C-variants, renamed at the time the MY Jules Verne and the MY Farley Mowat, were purchased in Baltimore in 2015 and are used by Sea Shephard, flying a black flag.

Well, it appears the sea going hippies picked up a big donation from John Paul DeJoria, a co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems salon products, and rechristened the former MY Jules Verne in his honor.

According to Sea Shepherd, DeJoria broke a bottle of Patron tequila against the anchor, making M/V John Paul DeJoria the first ship in history to be christened as such.

Their current fleet, click to big up

Their current fleet, click to big up

One of DeJoria’s first missions was to help search for lost marine life documentary filmmaker Rob Stewart off the Florida Keys– reportedly along with USCG vessels to whom she undoubtedly was a strange sight.

Two USCG 110-foot cutters to patrol Black Sea, forever

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz, Deputy Commandant Mission Support, presents a picture of a Island-class cutter to Major General Zurab Gamezardashvili, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, at the Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, Md., Sept. 30, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Barney.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz, Deputy Commandant Mission Support, presents a picture of a Island-class cutter to Major General Zurab Gamezardashvili, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, at the Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, Md., Sept. 30, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Barney.

Major General Zurab Gamezardashvili, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, and U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz signed certificates for the transfer of two former U.S. Coast Guard cutters to the Georgian Coast Guard at the Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, Md., Sept. 30, 2016.

The vessels transferred ex-Jefferson Island (WPB-1340) and ex-Staten Island (WPB- 1345) are the first Island-class patrol cutters “transferred to an international partner.”

The Georgian flag was flown for the first time aboard the cutters immediately after transfer, which will be named Ochamchire and Dioskuria respectively.

Jefferson Island and Staten Island were both “C” model 110s, built by Bollinger in 1991, and assigned to South Portland, ME and Atlantic Beach, NC, respectively.

Replaced by more modern Sentinel-class fast-response cutters, the Coast Guard is rapidly letting their relatively new (for them) 110s go, pulling them from service and shipping them for a final ride to the CG Yard for disposal.  Its not a bad replacement scheme, trading 49 110-foot patrol boats for 58 more capable 154-footers.

Background on the 110s

Persian Gulf (April 27, 2005) – Coast Guardsmen aboard U.S Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy (WPB 1326) wave good-bye to the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 74) after the first underway fuel replenishment (UNREP) between a U.S. Navy cruiser and a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter. Antietam completed fuel replenishment with the Monomoy in about two hours and saved the 110-foot patrol boat a four-hour trip to the nearest refueling station. Antietam and Monomoy are conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in the Persian Gulf as part of Commander, Task Force Five Eight CTF-58). U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Joseph Ebalo (RELEASED)

Persian Gulf (April 27, 2005) – Coast Guardsmen aboard U.S Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy (WPB 1326) wave good-bye to the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 74) after the first underway fuel replenishment (UNREP) between a U.S. Navy cruiser and a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Joseph Ebalo (RELEASED)

Part of a project initiated in 1982 as a DoD Augmentation Appropriation to phase out the pre-Vietnam era 95-foot Cape-class patrol cutters, the Islands were originally designed to carry a Mk 16 20mm manually operated cannon on the foredeck and two M60 7.62mm machine guns on the 01 deck.

First of the class, the “A” variant USCGC Farallon (WPB-1301) was delivered in 1986, followed by 16 sisters. “B” variant leader USCGC Baranof (WPB-1318) was delivered in 1988 followed by 19 sisters before the “C” series started with USCGC Grand Isle (WPB-1338) in 1991 with 11 sisters delivered by 1992.

In all, some 49 cutters to replace the 36 ancient Capes.

In the meantime, the ships have been steadily upgraded with new commo and nav gear, regular engine swaps, and a Mk.38 25mm gun tapping in for the obsolete Mk 16 and M2 .50 cals taking the place of the M60s. Every three years they get a 15-week or so spate in dry dock.

Eight (mostly A series boats) that were stretched to 123-foot vessels in a fiasco that left them riddled with hull cracks have been pulled from service and laid up for disposal (likely via reefing) at the CG Yard since 2006. They are USCGC Matagorda (WPB-1303), USCGC Manitou (WPB-1302), USCGC Monhegan (WPB-1305), USCGC Nunivak (WPB-1306), USCGC Vashon (WPB-1308), USCGC Attu (WPB-1317), USCGC Metompkin (WPB-1325), and USCGC Padre (WPB-1328).

Then there were 41, though the Coast Guard only lists 27 in service, and some of those have been overseas for more than a decade. Seven are cooling their heels in Alaska where they sometimes have to take on ghost ships. Two are in Guam. One in Hawaii.

Since 2002 the Coast Guard has forward deployed six of their 110s to Manama, Bahrain to serve in the Persian Gulf littoral. After all these vessels can stay at sea for a week at a time, have a cutter boat, a decent surface search radar, can make 29-knots, and float in just 7 feet of seawater– which the Big Blue has a hard time pulling off. This force formalized in 2004 as Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) and is very active, typically having 3-4 patrol boats underway in the Gulf at any given time looking for pirates, smugglers, terrorists out to pull off another USS Cole-style attack, and, well, the Iranians.

Of the other disposals, Costa Rica is supposed to pick up two of the class next year. 

Some Island-class cutters are apparently up for sale through private brokers as well.

A recently refitted 1991 vintage C-model vessel (which could be 1338, 1339, 1341, 1342, or 1343) is up for sale– price on request– here with “All gun mounts remain intact and fully operational, can be sold fully armed to qualified buyers that do not have sanctions of UN, USA or other regulatory Government or agencies. Owner has full authority and can provision the ship according to buyer interest.”

Island-class vessels moved on to the civilian market may be rather spartan. According to the USCG, their Cutter Transition Division has removed parts worth approximately $1.2 million per 110-foot patrol boat, and reintroduced them into Coast Guard and Navy supply chains for use on ships that are still operational.

USCGC Block Island (WPB-1344) and the USCGC Pea Island (WPB-1347), two late model C-variants, now renamed the MY Jules Verne and the MY Farley Mowat, were purchased in Baltimore last year and are used by Sea Shepard, flying a black flag.

You can bet the 40 or so 110s that make it out in to the wild still have a few decades of use left in them.

Costa Rica to pick up a couple of Islands

Island-class Coast Guard Cutter Grand Isle was decommissioned after 24 years of service in 2015, and her or one of her sisters may soon go to live a new life in Central America as the last two classes of USCG patrol boats have in recent decades

Island-class Coast Guard Cutter Grand Isle was decommissioned after 24 years of service in 2015, and her or one of her sisters may soon go to live a new life in Central America as the last two classes of USCG patrol boats have in recent decades

The U.S. government will donate two surplus Island-class cutter patrol boats with a total value of $18.9 million to the Costa Rica Coast Guard (Guarda Costas).

U.S. Assistant Secretary William Brownfield of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs announced the donation following a meeting with President Luis Guillermo Solís at Casa Presidencial last Wednesday.

In modern times the Costa Rican Coast Guard, established as a branch of the Guardia Civil in 1949, had a single sea-going patrol boat on each coast (Caribbean and Pacific) along with some smaller shallow water vessels with outboard motors.

In 1989 they picked up their most advanced ship, the former 95-foot patrol boat USCGC Cape Henlopen (WPB-95328) which served as Astronauta Franklin Chang Diaz (SP 951) until 2001 and was later sunk as a reef.

Diaz was augmented in 1991 by a surplus USCG Point-class cutter, the 82-foot Colonel Alfonso Monje (SP 82-1) (ex-USCGC Point Hope (WPB-82302)) and in 2001 by SNGC Juan Rafael Mora (SP 82-2) (ex-USCGC Point Chico (WPB-82339)).

Monje and Mora Points in Costa Rica service

Monje and Mora Points in Costa Rica service. You can almost close your eyes and smell the Mekong…

So presumably the new-to-them 110-foot cutters will replace the significantly smaller and now nearly 60~ year-old Monje and Mora. These boats are vastly different with the Islands carrying a Mk.38 25mm chain gun and 2-4 M2 .50 cals while the former “Points” were transferred without any mounted weapons and have subsequently been fitted with twin M60s forward.

Further, the 82’s have 8-10 man crews while the 110’s go twice that.

The English-language Costa Rican media outlet Tico Times reports some 50 CRCG members will soon be sent to the U.S. to train on their new ships.

The 110-foot ships will be the largest in the Costa Rican Coast Guard fleet when they arrive in 2017.

Better than them going to Sea Shepherd.

Sea Sheperds pick up a couple 110s

sentinel compared to Island class coast guard cutter (distance)wpb uscg patrol boat

154-foot Sentinel compared to 110-foot Island class patrol boat (distance). Click to big up

The Island-class patrol boats of the U.S. Coast Guard have put in yeoman’s service since the 1980s. These hardy 110-footers, armed originally with a 20mm Mk. 16 forward and pair of 12.7mm guns port and starboard amidships, have fought the war of a thousand drug smugglers in the Caribbean, deployed constantly to the Persian Gulf, sank radioactive Japanese ghost trawlers, and saved countless lives that would have otherwise been lost to the sea.

Over time they were updated with better radars, overhauled engines and a 25mm Mk.38, but they are showing their age.

They are now being replaced by the 154-foot, $88 million Sentinel class Fast Responce Cutters after some 30 years of hard service.

And the Sea Shepherd group of maritime thugs conservationists have picked up a couple of them:

The former USCGC Block Island (WPB-1344) and the USCGC Pea Island (WPB-1347), now renamed the MY Jules Verne and the MY Farley Mowat, were purchased in Baltimore earlier this year and are now berthed in Key West, Florida.

You can see the 25mm and M2 mounts removed as well as the racing stripes painted over, but the ready boxes are still there...

You can see the 25mm and M2 mounts removed as well as the racing stripes painted over, but the ready boxes are still there…

and the profile is unmistakeable

…and the profile is unmistakeable

“These two ships, the Farley Mowat and the Jules Verne, give Sea Shepherd USA a combination of speed and long-range capabilities,” said Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson. “We have already offered the Jules Verne to assist the rangers at Cocos Island National Park Marine Reserve with anti-poaching interventions, 300 miles off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and the Farley Mowat has been offered to patrol the Sea of Cortez in partnership with the government of Mexico to protect the endangered vaquita.”

Its not the first time that the group, seen often on Animal Planet/Discover Network’s “Whale Wars” have bought old Coasties. They picked up a 95-foot Cape class patrol boat from the Coast Guard in the 1990s and their ship MY Steve Irwin was the 195-foot Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency conservation enforcement patrol boat, the FPV Westra, for 28 years.

The 110s will be getting a new paint job as part of “Neptune’s Navy”, which actually looks kinda cool, but you can bet there are some USCG Chiefs out there whose eyes are going to twitch when they see it…

sea shepherd 110