Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, La., has delivered the 18th and 19th fast response cutters, the Joseph Tezanos and Rollin Fritch, to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Joseph Tezanos was delivered June 22 and the Rollin Fritch Aug. 23, both in Key West, Fla. The Coast Guard plans to commission the Tezanos in August in Puerto Rico, and the Fritch in November in Cape May, N.J., where the 154’x25’x9’6” Sentinel-class cutters and crews will be based. The decision to homeport the Rollin Fritch in New Jersey officially marks the expansion of FRC operations outside the Bahamas and the Caribbean. The Coast Guard plans to station FRCs in virtually every coastal state, but so far the first 17 FRCs have been stationed in either Florida or Puerto Rico. The FRC program replaces the Coast Guard’s aging fleet of 1980s-era 110’ Island-class patrol boats.
Bollinger based its FRC design on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708, producing a vessel with 28 knots flank speed. Both the Joseph Tezanos and Rollin Fritch have the Coast Guard’s command, control, communications and computer technology, interoperable with the systems of the departments of Homeland Security and Defense. Each of the vessels carries a 26’ over-the-horizon long range cutter boat with a stern launch and recovery system.
FRCs are named for distinguished members of the Coast Guard and its predecessor, the U.S. Lifesaving Service. The newest two are named for Rollin Fritch and Ensign Joseph Tezanos. Fritch was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his heroic efforts in defending the USS Callaway during Japanese kamikaze attacks in the Philippine Islands in 1945. Tezanos, as a petty officer second class, risked his life to save more than 40 people after an explosion on a landing ship tank caused a chain reaction throughout an armada moored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on May 21, 1944. For his bravery aboard the rescue boat, Tezanos received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Coast Guard commendation letter from the commandant.