Bollinger Shipyards Delivers Coast Guard’s 44th FRC

LOCKPORT, La. — Bollinger Shipyards LLC has delivered the USCGC Glenn Harris to the U.S. Coast Guard in Key West, Florida, the company said in an April 22 release. This is the 167th vessel Bollinger has delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard over a 35-year period and the 44th fast response cutter (FRC) delivered under the current program.

The Glenn Harris is the third of six FRCs to be home-ported in Manama, Bahrain, which will replace the aging 110-foot Island-class Patrol Boats, built by Bollinger Shipyards 30 years ago, supporting the Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), the U.S. Coast Guard’s largest overseas presence outside the United States. 

“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,” said Bollinger President and Chief Executive Ben Bordelon. “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.” 

Earlier this year at the commissioning ceremony of the USCGC Charles Moulthrope, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz lauded the “enhanced seakeeping” capabilities of the PATFORSWA-bound FRCs, saying “these ships are truly going to be game changing in their new theater of operations” and “offer increased opportunities for integrated joint operations with our Navy and Marine Corps colleagues” as the Coast Guard seeks to be part of the whole-of-government solution set 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 their 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 week, Bollinger announced the acquisition of Gulf Island Fabrication Inc.’s Terrebonne Parish shipyard facilities, expanding the company’s new construction and repair capacity and capabilities to better serve its key defense and commercial customers. The acquisition increases the shipyard’s growing new construction and repair portfolio. Gulf Island had been building the Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) for the U.S. Navy and Regional Class Research Vessels for the National Science Foundation and Oregon State University. These projects conveyed with the transaction. 

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris, a pre-commissioned 154-foot Fast Response Cutter, pulls a person from the water April 13, 2021, after a 175-foot commercial lift boat capsized 8 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana. The Coast Guard and multiple good Samaritan vessels responded to the capsized vessel and searched for multiple missing people in the water. U.S. COAST GUARD / Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris

Each FRC is named for an enlisted Coast Guard hero who distinguished themselves in the line of duty. Surfman Glen Harris piloted the first wave of landing craft on Tulagi Island in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and also made a landing against a Japanese force on Guadalcanal Island.  Harris was awarded a Silver Star medal by Adm. Chester Nimitz for his heroic combat actions. 

The FRC is an operational “game changer,” according to senior Coast Guard officials. FRCs are consistently being deployed in support of the full range of missions within the United States Coast Guard and other branches of our armed services.  This is due to its exceptional performance, expanded operational reach and capabilities, and ability to transform and adapt to the mission. FRCs have conducted operations as far as the Marshall Islands—a 4,400 nautical mile trip from their homeport. Measuring in at 154 feet, FRCs have a flank speed of 28 knots, state of the art C4ISR suite (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and stern launch and recovery ramp for a 26-foot, over-the-horizon interceptor cutter boat.