US gifts two new patrol boats to Georgia’s Coast Guard

Agenda.ge, 23 Sep 2016 - 13:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia's Coast Guard is being bolstered by the addition of two patrol boats gifted by the United States (US) government.

The two Island Class Patrol Boats will be handed over next week during a US visit by a Georgian delegation representing the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Georgian group are set to visit Baltimore in eastern US on September 30.

The 33 metre (110 ft) patrol boats will be gifted to Georgia’s Coast Guard, which is a section of the Border Police of Georgia that in turn operates under the country's Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The boats are manufactured by Bollinger Shipyards in the US. Photo from www.military.com.

The new boats are planned to be used in patrolling activities out of Georgia's Black Sea ports. They were manufactured by Bollinger Shipyards, which has built many ships for the US Coast Guard.

The handover of the new boats was discussed earlier today at a meeting between Georgia's Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili and US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly. 

We […] talked about a transfer of two coast guard boats to the Georgian Coast Guard, in about a week or so, in the Port of Baltimore. We are very pleased to be able to provide these two boasts for the Georgian Border Police," said Kelly following the meeting at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Each Island Class vessel needs a crew of two officers and 14 members to operate. Photo from www.military.com.

The Island Class Patrol Boat can reach speeds of 29 knots (53km/h) and have a range of 7,222km (3,900 miles).

Armed by one 25mm bushmaster cannon and two M2 .50 calibre machine guns, the vessel is manned by a crew of two officers and 14 crew members.

Military review website www.military.com described the boat as a "modification of a highly successful British-designed patrol boat" with "excellent range and seakeeping capabilities".

The first ship of the class was commissioned by the US Coast Guard in 1986, with 41 of the 49 originally manufactured vessels still in US service.

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