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Weather delays return of Coast Guard’s Hamilton to Charleston after historic European mission

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 8:32 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton is set to return Friday to Charleston Harbor for the first time since February, but later than expected because of weather and tides.

The ship spent the last few months on a deployment to Europe with the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet, Allies in Europe and other partners.

It was originally set to return to Charleston early Friday morning, but the ship’s arrival has been delayed until closer to noon, Coast Guard officials said.

Hamilton’s commander, Capt. Timothy Cronin, says the deployment improved the nation’s maritime strategy, safety and security.

“This deployment also reinforced our commitment to freedom of navigation in international waters while building capacity and partnerships with nations that have shared interests and threats in the maritime domain,” Cronin said.

The Hamilton visited Spain, Italy, Georgia, Ukraine and Malta as part of its mission. The crew conducted various operational exercises with the maritime components of each country and forces from Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria.

The cutter entered the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea to support NATO allies and partners, becoming the first Coast Guard citter to visit the Black Sea in more than a decade.

Since leaving the Black Sea on May 14, Hamilton’s crew visited Valletta, Malta, and conducted engagements at sea with the armed forces of Malta. They also made a brief logistics stop in Rota, Spain, on May 23. Hamilton transited out of the Mediterranean Sea, concluding the crew’s recent operations in Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility, May 24.

“The relationships we build are fundamental for establishing maritime safety and security worldwide,” The Hamilton’s operations officer, Lt. Cmdr. Taylor Kellogg, said. “Working together with our NATO Allies and partners, we advance the rule of law on the sea, ensuring free and open access to the maritime domain.”

“All nations benefit from free and open access to the maritime domain,” U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander said. “We seek to foster a united, global effort to safeguard this access. Allies and partners are integral to protecting our shared interests, preserving our competitive multilateral advantage, and upholding the rules-based international order. Hamilton’s tremendous efforts strengthen our alliances and partnerships by developing interchangeable capabilities, combined operations, theater security cooperation, and capacity-building measures. Together we defend sovereignty from malign influence and coercion.”

The 418-foot cutter is expected to arrive at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Facility in North Charleston by Friday afternoon.

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