US Coast Guard cutter becomes Philippine Navy frigate

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell crewmembers disembark the cutter for the last time during a ceremony marking the transfer of the vessel to the Philippine Navy July 21, 2016. Photo: US Navy

The Philippine Navy has received a third U.S. Coast Guard cutter and christened it as the BRP Andres Bonifacio Philippine Navy frigate before a ceremonial crew swap on July 21.

The Coast Guard Base Alameda authorized the transfer of the decommissioned Coast Guard cutter to the Philippine Navy as part of the Excess Defense Articles program.

Today’s ceremony marked the third delivery of a high-endurance Coast Guard cutter to the Philippine government. The two other decommissioned cutters were the San Diego-based Hamilton and South Carolina-based Dallas.

BRP Gregorio Del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, as the first two U.S. Coast Guard vessels were renamed, were acquired in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

According to the Coast Guard, the vessel is an $8 million grant, but the Philippine Navy is investing $16 million to modernize and outfit the cutter in the U.S. as part of the transfer program. The U.S. Coast Guard also benefits from the transfer by saving over $12 million in ship disposal costs.

“The Coast Guard is saddened that this cutter is no longer with our fleet, but we are also proud to send it on a new mission in the service of a great nation, under the capable watch of professional sailors and close friends,” said Rear Adm. Joseph M. Vojvodich, the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Acquisition and Chief Acquisition Officer.

Under the EDA program, assets no longer needed and declared excess by the U.S. Armed Forces may be offered at reduced or no cost to eligible foreign recipients on an “as is, where is” basis in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, under authorities established in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act.

Typically, EDA is transferred to support U. S. allies in their modernization efforts and to assist Latin American and Caribbean nations in their counter-narcotics programs.

Boutwell was decommissioned March 16 at San Diego after 48 years of service to the nation. Boutwell is the third and longest-serving cutter named after the former Secretary of the Treasury, George Sewall Boutwell.

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