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US Coast Guard hands over its last high endurance cutter to Sri Lanka

USCGC Douglas Munro on July 24, 2020
Illustration: US Coast Guard file photo of USCGC Douglas Munro

The US Coast Guard has formally handed over its final high endurance cutter to Sri Lanka in a ceremony at its Seattle base in Washington.

Former USCGC Douglas Munro was transferred to Sri Lanka on October 26, six months after it bowed out of service in April this year.

Commissioned in 1971, Douglas Munro was the tenth of twelve ships in its class and the last to retire. The fleet of 378-foot Hamilton-class high endurance cutters is being replaced by 418-foot Legend-class national security cutters, which serve as the Coast Guard’s primary long-range asset.

Ex-Douglas Munro will be joining another two USCG ships handed over to Sri Lanka over the recent years. These are the former medium endurance cutter Courageous (now known as SLNS Samudura) and former high endurance cutter Sherman (now known as SLNS Gajabahu).

Sri Lankan Navy sailors will complete training in the US over the next seven months as the ships undergoes necessary refurbishment before sailing home in 2022.

The Sri Lanka Navy said the voyage might become the longest ever sea voyage ever undertaken by a Sri Lankan naval vessel.

Earlier this year, the US Coast Guard transferred ex-Munro, another high endurance cutter, to the Vietnam Navy as part of the excess defense articles (EDA) program.

In total, the US delivered 137 vessels to 32 countries through the EDA program since 1998, including motor lifeboats, tenders, patrol boats, and medium and high endurance cutters. In addition to helping build and sustain global maritime partnerships in support of the Coast Guard’s national maritime strategy, EDA transfers also help the service avoid the cost of disposing of these vessels, an avoidance totaling $150.4 million since 1998.