Philippines reconsiders additional Hamilton-class cutters from US

The Philippine Navy frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), formerly the Hamilton-class cutter USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719), on its way to Hawaii for RIMPAC 2018. Photo c/o Philippine Navy.

The Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the country is considering accepting any offer from the United States government to transfer additional Hamilton-class high endurance cutters.

But Sec. Lorenzana also added that they won’t actively request for them but will only consider any offer made by the US government. Other factors that may affect the decision to accept any offer would be the ship’s condition, cost of repairing and maintenance, and cost of sustainment. Sec. Lorenzana pointed out that maintaining and repairing old ships are costly.

The Philippine Navy currently has three of the Hamilton-class cutters in its fleet and are collectively known as the Del Pilar-class.  All three were donated by the US government, although the Philippine government shelled-out the repair costs, as well as other expenses related to the transfer including training and administrative costs. One of the ships, the Philippine Navy flagship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, is undergoing repairs after running aground in the Spratly Islands last August 2018.

Aside from the Philippines, other countries also operate Hamilton-class cutters that were also provided by the US. Among them are Nigeria (2 ships), Bangladesh (2 ships), Vietnam (1 ship) and Sri Lanka (1 ship). The US Coast Guard still operate three ships, all of which are scheduled for retirement between 2019 and 2021.

[1] Manila Bulletin
[2] Naval Technology
[3] Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippines reconsiders additional Hamilton-class cutters from US Philippines reconsiders additional Hamilton-class cutters from US Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on January 10, 2019 Rating: 5

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