Bollinger Shipyards LLC, Lockport, La., has delivered the 154'x25' fast response cutter (FRC) Robert Goldman to the U.S. Coast Guard in Key West, Fla. It is the 165th vessel Bollinger has delivered to the Coast Guard over a 35-year period and the 42nd FRC delivered under the current program. The Robert Goldman is the second of six cutters destined for overseas operations in Manama, Bahrain.
The new patrol boat will be supporting the Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), the Coast Guard’s largest overseas presence outside the U.S.
For the FRC, which has a draft of 9'6", Bollinger is using a proven, in-service parent craft design based on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708. Main propulsion comes from twin MTU 20V4000 M93L diesel engines, producing 2,900 hp each.
“Bollinger is proud to continue enhancing and supporting the U.S. Coast Guard’s operational presence and ensuring it remains the preferred partner around the world,” Bollinger President and CEO Ben Bordelon said in a statement announcing the delivery. “It is our top priority to ensure that the brave men and women of the Coast Guard stationed in PATFORSWA have the most state-of-the-art, advanced vessels as they work to build and maintain the necessary regional alliances to ensure maritime security in the region. Building ships for the Coast Guard provides critical assets to bolster our national security and advance America’s interests, both at home and abroad.”
At a PATFORSWA change of command ceremony earlier in the summer, Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander Vice Adm. Steven D. Poulin emphasized the importance of the unit. “During these historical times it is important, now more than ever, that we maintain maritime security operations throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. [PATFORSWA is] pushing forward into the unknown to protect American interests in the region.”
PATFORSWA is composed of six cutters, shoreside support personnel, and the Maritime Engagement Team. The unit’s mission is to train, organize, equip, support and deploy combat-ready Coast Guard Forces in support of U.S. Central Command and national security objectives. PATFORSWA works with Naval Forces Central Command in furthering its goals to conduct persistent maritime operations to forward U.S. interests, deter and counter disruptive countries, defeat violent extremism and strengthen partner nations’ maritime capabilities in order to promote a secure maritime environment.
Earlier this month, Bordelon authored an opinion piece on how an expanded Coast Guard presence around the globe can “help further the regional partnerships and alliances necessary to curb the creeping influence of America’s strategic competitors and adversaries.” Bordelon argues that the Coast Guard has the opportunity to establish itself as the preferred regional partner through its work with PATFORSWA, Operation Aiga and elsewhere. Bordelon concludes that “white hull diplomacy should be looked to more and more as a complementary arrow in the whole-of-government quiver.”
The majority of the Robert Goldman build occurred despite the Covid-19 global pandemic and six named storms impacting the Gulf region, all of which affected Louisiana and two of which made landfall in the state as hurricanes, including Hurricane Laura — a Category 4 storm and the strongest to hit the state since the Great Storm of 1856. Bollinger undertook precautions to ensure the health and safety of employees and not only maintained its schedule but delivered the vessel three weeks early.