Young Applauds New Coast Guard Investments Coming to Alaska
Crucial Upgrades Serve Alaska, National Security
Washington, D.C., April 25, 2018 | Murphy McCollough (2022255765)
The U.S. Coast Guard announced the homeporting of six Fast Response Cutters (FRC) across Southeast Alaska communities which will improve disaster response readiness, assist in search and rescue operations and protect local fisheries. As announced, two new FRCs will be homeported in Kodiak, one in Sitka, one in Seward and the two vessels in Ketchikan will remain in place. This will deliver many substantial upgrades to the current fleet. Alaska Congressman Don Young issued the following statement after the announcement:
“In Alaska, the Coast Guard plays a pivotal role in the well-being and security of our waters and our state every day,” said Congressman Young. “Ensuring that the Coast Guard has the most advanced and current systems available is absolutely essential to their work and I have long advocated for these updates. I have worked closely with my colleagues in the House and members of House Leadership to ensure that these vessels, which are a major investment in the future of Alaska, were prioritized and properly funded to better serve and protect our needs. Upgrading the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet to the FRCs allows the Coast Guard to keep Alaskans safe while also monitoring activity in our waters and helping our fisheries. I am particularly pleased to see these vessels will be distributed across Southeast Alaska. The placement of these FRCs will increase our readiness and response capability which serves Alaskans as well as our national security. I will keep working with the Coast Guard and fight to ensure they have the resources they need to continue their mission.”
“The Coast Guard values its relationship with each Alaskan community and I appreciate your support as we continue to serve the citizens and maritime community of Alaska,” said Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. “I ask for your continued support as we work with the Administration and Congress to request funding, and for the support of city officials as we mutually prepare for the arrival of the patrol boats.”
As a senior member and former Chairman on the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee, Congressman Young led the effort to make sure Alaska maintains the greatest possible coverage by positioning Coast Guard assets. Congressman Young has long advocated for the FRCs to be distributed across Southeast Alaska for the many strategic and economic benefits. In the FY 18 Federal budget, the U.S. Coast Guard received $340 million in funding for an additional six FRCs, which will begin construction shortly in American shipyards, to succeed the current 110 ft. Island Class patrol boats. While the new FRCs will not replace the 110 ft. directly, these ships are 41 feet longer, have the ability to be at sea far longer than their predecessor, and will be able to meet the current and future mission needs of the U.S. Coast Guard. With these ships comes additional investment in Alaska as they will need new or improved shore-side infrastructure, housing to support the additional crew and their families, as well as new maintenance hubs to support the vessels. The Alaska Delegation was instrumental in securing $51.5 million to fund Coast Guard housing and shore-side infrastructure projects that will support current and future Coast Guard assets in Alaska.