US Coast Guard ship visits Estonia for first time since 1998

The US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Hamilton.
The US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Hamilton. Source: Estonian Defense Forces

The crews of the US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Hamilton and Estonian navy (Merevägi) ship the EML Sakala shared their professional knowledge and experience during a visit by the former to Estonia this week.

"This was a historic moment and a great honor for us to host the USCGC Hamilton crew on board the Sakala, because no US Coast Guard vessel has visited Estonia for 25 years," said Commander of the EML Sakala, Captain Annes Babenko.

First, EML Sakala crew members, of whom there are over 30, visited the USCGC Hamilton, where they were introduced to the ship, its crew and the technology on board. The 100 plus American crew members were then invited on board the EML Sakala, where they were shown the emergency response procedures, equipment and techniques.

Both the Estonian and the US crews noted similarities between the ships, particularly when it comes to emergency response procedures, while also acknowledging their differing capabilities and functions.

The USCGC is mainly deployed off the coast of South America, where it is used to combat drug and human trafficking. The EML Sakala is based in the Baltic Sea, where it is used to deal with historical mines and explosive devices.

Later the same evening, the USCGC Hamilton, in cooperation with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), conducted a series of practice sea rescue and search operations with the cutter Pikne and M-15 motorboat.

The last US Coast Guard to visit Estonia was the Tahoma in 1998, which moored at the Admiralty Basin in Tallinn. A sea rescue exercise was also conducted in cooperation with the PPA at that time.

More images of the USCGC Hamilton's visit to Estonia can been in this gallery here.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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