US Navy holds decommissioning ceremonies for three coastal patrol boats
The decommissioning ceremony of the coastal patrol ships USS Shamal (PC 13), USS Zephyr (PC 8) and USS Tornado (PC 14) at Naval Station Mayport was conducted by the US Navy between 16-18 February.
Coastal patrol ships (PCs) have been equipped to provide coastal operations such as coastal patrolling and interdiction surveillance. They are especially suitable for maritime homeland security missions and can respond rapidly in a shallow water environment to evolving requirements.
PCs also operate in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard to help prevent terrorist attacks, illegal drugs, and illegal immigration from the U.S. coastline, ports, and waterways.
These three ships were vital in the counter-narcotics patrols and illegal trafficking patrols in the coastal waters of the United States, Central America and the Caribbean Islands during their time in service.
Shamal pursued and confiscated a 45-foot speedboat, leading to the recovery in 2005 of 19 bales of marijuana weighing more than a ton. On a 165-foot coastal freighter, they also found a hidden compartment holding more than a ton of cocaine.
Shamal and her crew participated in the response of the Coast Guard to the 2005 destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. Shamal and her team operated alongside the Coast Guard on their final operation in September 2020, capturing nearly two and a half tons of street marijuana worth eight million dollars and detaining seven alleged drug smugglers.
Zephyr was one of the first ships to respond to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and assisted in searching for survivors in April 2010 during an inter-service transition from 2004-2011 to the Coast Guard on loan. Furthermore, during counter-narcotics operations, Zephyr seized seven tons of cocaine while apprehending 17 drug dealers.
Patrol coastal ships were initially constructed with a 15-year life service design, but this class of ships achieved an average age of 26 years with gradual modernization and maintenance cycles.
Zephyr, the eldest ship in this decommissioning class, more than doubled its life service design and would have turned 27 this October, while Tornado, the youngest of the three, would have turned 21 this June.
The decision to decommission the three vessels stems from the fact that all of them have completed their planned service life.
Maritime Business World