45-year-old US ship for transfer to Philippine Navy has defects


MANILA, Philippines—The next Hamilton ship from the United States expected by the Philippine Navy to be transferred by end of May this year experienced defects before its last patrol with the US Coast Guard.

The 45-year-old ship, scheduled to be decommissioned in March, was due for return to its homeport in Charleston, South Carolina, Wednesday morning (US time) after completing a 94-day patrol.

“Through most of this more than 90-day patrol we have focused on simply getting underway and staying underway; a greater feat than one may think. After four decades of service, Dallas’ equipment failures have impacted our ability to perform missions on a daily basis and throughout this patrol the crew has worked through some amazing challenges,” wrote Captain Jim Munro, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, in his farewell message to the ship as posted in the US Coast Guard website Tuesday (US time).

“During months of preparation, a hole was cut in Dallas’ hull and a main diesel engine block was replaced. The crew then worked to pull together systems that were dormant during a long in-port period and breathed life back into them. They fought through a flurry of last-minute equipment casualties and the material challenges of an old ship were felt immediately as we experienced problems with the reduction gear lubrication systems,” he added.

“After diverting to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for repairs, we were back underway. A long stint of operations followed, 30 days worth, and it felt good to get that under our belt, especially as two go-fast interdictions occurred in that intense period,” he also said.

During the three-month patrol of Dallas, one of the “most capable cutters stationed on the East Coast,” the crew made one marijuana seizure and one cocaine drug interdiction.  The ship also transferred detainees suspected of attempting to smuggle drugs into the U.S., to various law enforcement agencies.  The cutter made a stop in Cartagena, Colombia, and several visits to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the US Coast Guard said.

Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense Public Affairs posted in its Facebook account Wednesday confirming that the ship is retiring but it did not acknowledge that the ship will join the Navy asset.

“Though there will be additional Hamilton class ships scheduled to join our fleet, much of the public’s enthusiasm especially modernization buffs believe that the next sister ship for “Gorio” would be the soon-to-be decommissioned US Coast Guard Dallas. The ship is indeed retiring from service and without final confirmation yet that this ship will join our Navy, you can read its ‘final logs’ and stories of its remaining voyages in the USCG. Again, let us all wait for the official announcement.”

But last week, Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said he has already received the formal letter of offer on the Hamilton Class Cutter US Coast Guard Dallas.

“Kung masusunod yung schedule, bago matapos and taon, dalawa na yung Secretary Class natin. Maaring May (If the schedule will be followed, before the end of the year we will have two Secretary Class vessels),” Pama told reporters after the Philippine Military Academy Homecoming.

The United States Congress formally approved the transfer of the Dallas to the Philippines on February 10 this year.

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  • Anonymous

    This is a 45 yr old ship and its just worn out and I cannot imagine the cost of to our government in maintaing such a vessel. But like they always say beggars cannot be choosy….

  • Armand

    Tanong nyo kay Tabako at Tita Glow kung nasaan na ang pera para sa modernization ng AFP.

  • Kai Gamerboy

    can we afford something better? if yes, then why are we getting this ship? its because we cant afford a new one right now. if the ship is considered “bulok” by the americans, do you think their mindset is the same as ours? Just look at japan surplus, they are “bulok” for the japs, but are they bulok for pinoys?

    • Phillip Tattaglia

      .. Kai Gamerboy .. “Can we afford something better?” — probably not. The Philippine government prioritizes its budget to improve its economy. Not much on Defense. 

      As a pinoy/US Resident, I can’t help but notice on Wikipedia how much improvement is needed to reform the Philippine Armed Forces hardware inventory. 

      Singapore is an extremely tiny country with more firepower to defend, not only itself, but its region as well.

  • June Gemarino

    yeah….so wait for the BRANDNEW OPV SSV and anther LCU
    not yet sure though about that SSV 
    the MRV is just like this second hand but still in good conditions and it is that useful
    same with the frigate and destroyer possible acquisition
     the MPAC brandnew more of those…     

  • Anonymous

    Poor country like ours don’t have a choice. The 45 years old Hamilton type ship is a welcome to the government like ours however the turnover is not free. The Filipinos will have to pay million of dollars for the retired ship and maintenance  will be costly because its engine parts and instrumentation  will have to be ordered from the US. There is money in trash and the ship is one. The Filipinos however have a lot of good technicians and engineers that could do innovations on the ship. Soon the body of the ship is American but the instrumentation and engines could be replace with reliable Japanese made whose spare parts are easily available. Or perhaps, China made part replacements could be acquired they are very cheap but poor in quality to the likings of our COA with lowest bidder policy on acquisition. Anyway my dad’s car is a 1970’s model Toyota car with a 4K engine, ok pa rin ang takbo and you could see the smile in his face kung may binubutinting siya. He enjoyed so much when its engine was overhauled for the first time, it keeps him busy and brag that parang bago na naman ang sasakyan niya. However, the Hamilton type ship may be totally complicated than cars as far as maintenance is concern, tiyak laging busy ang mechanics natin lalo na kung tumirik ito sa gitnang dagat habang nag pa patrol or at war.

    • Phillip Tattaglia

      Hey wawa2172. Just wanted to let you know that the world’s largest luxury cruise ships (and even cargo ships) are maintained by Pinoy engineers. I can speak from my experience because I was a cruise ship passenger myself. 

      As far as the Philippines taking ownership of the boat, it’s better than nothing. The Philippine Government does not have enough financial resources to buy a new one and maintain it (yes maintenance is also required even if it’s brand new). 

      Remember the story behind the Philippine Jeepney? They were leftover Jeeps (GP for General Purpose) from WW II. Mr Sarao had the ingenuity to turn it into a form of mass transportation in the Philippines. 

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