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Sri Lankan Navy to take delivery of Vietnam era US warship

Sri Lanka Navy will take delivery of the Vietnam war vintage vessel 378-foot High Endurance Cutter Sherman from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) by next month. As per the agreement reached with Washington, US coast guards are gifting the vessel to the Sri Lankan navy. The vessel will help the country to undertake long haul surveillance operations in the Indian Ocean region in the post war scenario, senior Sri Lankan official told the Local media.

A section of the Sri Lankan Naval crew assigned to the vessel is receiving training on board the vessel at USCG base Honolulu. The US Coast Guards have decommissioned the 50-year-old ship in March this year.

A Senior Sri Lankan Naval official told local media that larger vessels were required for post-war responsibilities. "We need bigger platforms to patrol the 200 mile exclusive economic zone. The acquisition of USCG Cutter is in line with the overall strategy," the official said. In accordance with the agreement between the US and Sri Lanka, the latter had to pay for repairs, spare parts etc although the vessel was gifted.

The transfer of the vessel to Sri Lanka is scheduled to take place on the helipad of the vessel at USCG base at Honolulu by third week of August. The vessel is likely to stay there for a couple of months to complete the repairs.

The United States Coast Guards vessel Sherman is one of only two of its class vessels to receive the Vietnam Service Award and the only Coast Guard Cutter to acquire the Combat Action Ribbon for action in the Vietnam War. Sherman is the last decommissioned warship in the Coast Guard to have sunk an enemy vessel in combat.

According to Naval sources, Sri Lanka would also receive an old Chinese frigate mounted with 100 mm weapon. Sources said that Chinese frigate was a grant and in line with decades long bilateral defense cooperation.

Sources said that almost a decade after the conclusion of the war, Sri Lanka was engaged expanding its capacity to efficiently patrol its exclusive economic zone. Sri Lanka took delivery of state-of-the art two Indian built Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels (AOPVs) after the last presidential poll in January 2015. In addition to the two APOVs-SLNS Sayurala and SLNS Sindurala, the SLN fleet includes five Offshore Patrol Vessels, one Landing Ship Tank, four Fast Gun Boats, two auxiliary ships (both gifted by Australia) et al.

The Sri Lankan Coast guard took delivery of two new 30 meter long Japanese built patrol boats recently. They are expected to be commissioned shortly. The Japanese government had provided a grant of 18 million US dollars to purchase these boats

After the War, Navy is engaged in discouraging Indian fishing fleet regularly crossing the international maritime boundary and effective policing of high seas.


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