Patrol coastal ships USS Tempest, USS Squall and USS Thunderbolt docked in Bahrain on July 3rd. There will soon be a total of eight patrol coastal ships permanently stationed in the U.S. 5th fleet’s area of responsibility.
By spring of 2014, the United States Navy will have also sent the USS Hurricane and USS Monsoon. This will bring the total to ten ships in the region.
Vice Admiral John W. Miller, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces, said, “Having additional PCs here in Bahrain will give us incredible flexibility in the 5th Fleet area of operations since they are uniquely capable of operating in this dynamic environment… they will allow for continued maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in the 5th Fleet.”
Patrol coastal ships allow the U.S. Navy more flexibility in their pursuit of potential enemy ships, as they can rapidly respond to changing circumstances and explore shallow water environments.
“These ships are ideal for working with partner navies in the Gulf,” said Capt. Joseph Naman, commander, Destroyer Squadron 50. “The navies and coast guard of our coalition partners operate similar craft, with similar systems and capability – that fosters better interoperability in the maritime domain.”
Each patrol ship will have a full-time crew, where the families of the sailors will be allowed to stay with them. This is an alternative to a six month rotational crew system, which requires the crews and their family to be constantly on the move.
“The shift to permanent PC crews alleviates the significant strain placed on the crews and their families while ensuring capacity and capability stays strong here in the AOR,” said Naman. “The well-being of our sailors and families is critical to the accomplishment of our missions.”
Patrol coastal ships have been with the U.S. 5th fleet since 2003. The Commander of the Patrol Coastal Squadron One and a maintenance and logistics group will move with the ships from Virginia to Bahrain to allow for direct support fo the numerous patrol coastals stationed there.
The U.S. 5th fleet is in charge of operating in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and a portion of the Indian Ocean. This vast expanse of ocean encompasses the shores of 20 countries and is a vital shipping way for international commerce.