MANILA, -- The first batch of the sailing crew for the USGC Boutwell, the third Hamilton-class cutter donated by the Americans to the Philippines, is now awaiting deployment to the United States.
This was disclosed by Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna in a message to the PNA.
"They (first batch of sailing crew) are still in the country and waiting deployment for the US," he said in Filipino.
While mum on the exact date, Lincuna said USGC Boutwell's arrival will help the PN to secure the country's vast maritime domains.
The latter is the sister ship of BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (formerly the USCGC Hamilton) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (ex-USCGC Dallar) which were decommissioned in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The USCGC Boutwell was decommissioned from US Coast Guard service last March 16 in San Diego, California after 48 years of service.
"We are expecting the delivery of this ship this year. (It will be an) additional asset for the PN and will be a big boost to our capabilities once it enters our inventory," he added.
The USCGC Boutwell is the seventh high endurance cutter to be decommissioned, with five remaining in service across the Pacific.
The US Coast Guard is now working with the State Department to transfer the ship to the PN as part of a Foreign Military Sale Program through the Foreign Assistance Act.
Hamilton-class cutters have a gross tonnage of 3,250 tons, has a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet.
Its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.
The ship has cruising range of 14,000 miles and has a sea and loiter time of 45 days.
It has a complement of 167 officers and men.
US President Barack Obama earlier announced they are donating the USCGC Boutwell to the PN along with the research vessel, R/V Melville during his visit to the Philippines last Nov. 17, the height of the APEC Leaders' Summit in Manila.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Boutwell (WHEC-719) tied at the San Diego navy base, May 13, 2012.