Coast Guard Transfers Cutter Gentian to Columbian Navy

Coast Guard Cutter GentianWASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard transferred the former cutter Gentian to the Colombian Navy today in a ceremony at Coast Guard headquarters.

“Colombia is one of the most important countries in the Coast Guard’s counter-drug program, and shares our goal of improving maritime counter-narcotics cooperation,” said Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard. “With the decommissioning of the Gentian and its discontinuation as a Caribbean support tender, a key policy objective has been to ensure the vessel is allocated to one of the countries she once served. Allocation of the Gentian to Colombia will facilitate combined counter-drug and security operations in the region, and will serve as a force multiplier for the Coast Guard.”

Vice Adm. Vivian Crea, Coast Guard vice commandant, presided over the ceremony and transferred title of the 180-foot vessel to Colombia. Adm. Guillermo Barrera, commander of the Colombian Navy represented the Colombian government at the ceremony.

The Columbian Navy will host a commissioning ceremony tomorrow at the ship’s berth in Baltimore. In its new role, the former cutter is to be renamed ARC San Andres.

The ship will remain in Baltimore through December, where the Columbian Navy will fund limited maintenance. As part of this work, the Columbian Navy has ordered installation of $890,000 in navigation and communications equipment.

In addition to providing a close ally with a ship capable of launching small interceptors in support of maritime security missions, the Coast Guard also benefits from approximately $450,000 in ship disposal cost avoidance. The grant value of the ship is $2.7 million.

Since 1999, the Caribbean support tender regularly deployed to Caribbean operating areas conducting training, professional exchange, logistics support and maintenance assistance for Coast Guard and partner nations. The ship’s ability to carry 100,000 pounds of cargo, with 10-ton lift capacity, enabled it to deliver materiel throughout the region. The cutter also supported multinational exercises and disaster relief operations.

The U.S. government categorizes vessels decommissioned for transfer to other nations as excess defense articles. These platforms are surplus to the service’s requirements and may be replaced by newer assets in Coast Guard service. All excess defense articles EDA are transferred to a foreign client “as is–where is.” Maintenance, refurbishment or modification of the vessel is at the client’s expense following transfer.

Since 1997, the Coast Guard has transferred title of 115 decommissioned vessels to the maritime services of 29 partner nations in support of Coast Guard and U.S. government strategic objectives. The Coast Guard’s offices of international affairs and international acquisition coordinate vessel transfers with the U.S. Navy’s international programs office, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and the U.S. State Department.

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One Comment

  1. James (Jim) D. Oss says:

    I was an RM2 in Gentian (NRPI) 1968-69 when she was out of Group Galveston, Texas. As the only radioman aboard, I stood one operator watches while underway mainly working buoys in the Houston ship channel but also between Corpus Christi, Texas to Sabine Pass, Louisiana. At that time, radiotelegraph was the primary mode of communications. We were very busy along with our sister tender Iris. We often got underway to assist with SAR operations.
    My best memory was underway training with the Navy in Charleston, South Carolina. We got our ‘E’ and I remember ‘snowing’ the Navy radiomen with my code speed that they hadn’t used in years.
    Glad to hear the old ‘Black Widow’ is still afloat, white hull and all.
    Jim Oss
    WaKeeney KS 67672-1802
    zut1281@yahoo.com