US Coast Guard receives fast response cutter Rollin Fritch

Sister Ship of the Rollin Fritch, Margaret Norwell. Photo: Bollinger Shipyards

The U.S. Coast Guard received the 19th fast response cutter, Rollin Fritch, in Key West, Florida, on August 23.

The Coast Guard said USCGC Rollin Fritch would be based in Cape May, New Jersey as the first FRC stationed outside Florida or Puerto Rico.

The 19th FRC is named after Seaman First Class Rollin Fritch, who died Jan. 8, 1945, during a battle off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Fritch remained at his post as a member of a gun crew aboard the USS Callaway under heavy fire until an enemy plane collided with the vessel. He posthumously received the Silver Star.

The 154-foot (46.9 meter) FRCs patrol coastal regions and feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; improved habitability and seakeeping; and the ability to launch and recover standardized cutter boats from astern or via side davits.

Bollinger Shipyards is building the U.S. Coast Goard Sentinel-class fast response cutters based on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708 design.

FRCs are replacing the 1980s-era 110-foot Island-class patrol boats and execute critical missions including defense readiness; law enforcement; search and rescue; and ports, waterways, and coastal security. The cutters have an endurance of five days and a top speed of more than 28 knots.

Of the 38 FRCs ordered, 17 are in service: six in Key West, six in Miami, and five in San Juan. The 18th FRC is scheduled for commissioning later this month. The FRC is complemented operationally by the national security cutter, which serves in the open ocean, and will later be joined by the offshore patrol cutter, which will bridge the capabilities of the FRC and NSC.

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