CHARLESTON, SC (AP/WCSC) - A Coast Guard cutter that served the nation for 45 years was transferred to the Nigerian Navy on Wednesday.
A ceremony was held in Charleston to transfer the cutter Gallatin, which completed its final cruise for the Coast Guard last December. The Gallatin was decommissioned earlier this year.
According to the Coast Guard, the Gallatin was offered to Nigeria on April 24, 2013, through the Foreign Assistance Act, and was decommissioned from Coast Guard service March 31, 2014.
During the ceremony, Coast Guard Chief Acquisition Officer Rear Adm. Bruce Baffer and Nigerian Minister of State for Defence Musiliu Obanikoro signed transfer documents in front of U.S. and Nigerian spectators, marking the official handoff of the ship to Nigeria.
Baffer said the transfer was bittersweet but said he believes the ship, renamed NNS Okpabana, will provide valuable service to Nigeria.
Later this year, the Coast Guard in Charleston will become the home port for the Hamilton, one of the new generation of Coast Guard cutters and the first of its class to be based on the East Coast. Three of the new cutters are based in California.
The new cutters are bigger and faster than the Gallatin and can be operated with smaller crews.