Friday, May 31, 2013

Bangladesh gets its first Hamilton class cutter

Bangladesh received it first decommissioned Hamilton class cutter from the U.S. Coast Guard at a ceremony on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif.

The Coast Guard transferred the 3,300-ton cutter, formerly the USCGC Jarvis, to a 20-member team from the Bangladeshi navy.

The Jarvis -- decommissioned in October and renamed BNS Somudro Joy -- was sold to Bangladesh as an excess defense article through a foreign military sales program, the Bangladeshi news website reported.

At the ceremony were U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, Cmdr. Coast Guard Pacific Area and Chief of Naval Staff for the Bangladeshi navy Vice Adm. Muhammad Farid Habib, a report by the Bangladesh military website said.

The ship's commanding officer Capt. Mohammad Nazmul Karim arrived in Alameda in March to begin preparations to accept the Jarvis. Another 70 crew members arrived this month.

Around 26 former Jarvis crew members will advise the Bangladeshi crew until Somudro Joy sails for Bangladesh this year.

The 378-foot Somudro Joy, which has a helicopter landing deck and hangar, is powered by two Pratt and Whitney gas turbines and two Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines.

The Bangladeshi navy said the guided missile frigate, now the largest vessel in the fleet, will receive a further refit and upgrades after arriving in Bangladesh, reported.

Planned upgrades include boosting the vessel's combat capability with more AShM and SAM launchers.

The Jarvis was built by Avondale Shipyards and commissioned in 1972 and will be replaced by Legend class National Security Cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Somudro Joy joins the BNS Bangabandhu guided missile frigate built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in the South Korea and commissioned in 2001.

In January, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina commissioned the BNS Padma, the first Bangladeshi-built warship, at the Titumir Naval Base, near Khunla, around 90 miles south of Dhaka.

The 160-foot frigate cost around $7.4 million and has four 37mm and two 20mm cannons, the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency reported.

At the commissioning, Hasina said the navies of China, India and Myanmar are becoming more active in the Bay of Bengal and Bangladesh needs the Padma to protect its coastal waters.

Hasina also said the country is on target to purchase two submarines but didn't say where the vessels would come from.

Activities are going on to purchase two submarines from a friendly country," she told Parliament while replying to a written question on her government's efforts to modernize the navy, army and air force.

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