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NEWS | May 21, 2021

U.S. Coast Guard Conducts at Sea Exercises with Malta

By USCG Petty Officer 3rd Class Sydney Phoenix

The Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) conducted at sea engagements with Armed Forces of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, May 17 and 20, 2021.

“Malta is one of our strongest maritime partners in the Mediterranean,” said Capt. Timothy Cronin, commanding officer of Hamilton. “It was an honor to work alongside the Armed Forces of Malta and help them prepare for helicopter operations on their first flight deck equipped vessel. By working together during events such as this we demonstrate our shared commitment to maritime safety and security, which all nations depend on today.”

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Gwendolyn S. Green was delighted to welcome the Captain and crew of the USCGC Hamilton to Malta’s magnificent Grand Harbor.  She said, “The USCGC Hamilton’s visit was a tribute to the strong bilateral relationship and a demonstration of the mutually beneficial collaboration between the Armed Forces of Malta and the U.S. Coast Guard.” 

On May 17, the Armed Forces of Malta Agusta Westland AW139 helicopter hoisted several crew members down to Hamilton and conducted a passenger transfer from a small boat to observe how the U.S. Coast Guard conducts flight operations. The Hamilton’s MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew conducted vertical replenishment training, hoist and medical evacuation training and an in-flight refuel from the flight deck of Hamilton.

 “It was a pleasure training with such professional mariners,” said Seaman William Horvath, helicopter tie down aboard Hamilton. “Today we each showed the dedication our crews have for their job and mission. We look forward to future opportunities to work with Malta and other like-minded maritime services.”

On May 20, Hamilton conducted passing and communication exercises with Armed Forces of Malta Patrol Boat P-51 and Patrol Boat P-52, both of which were acquired by Malta from the U.S. Coast Guard’s foreign military sales program. They also conducted hoisting operations with the Armed Forces of Malta Agusta Westland AW139 helicopter allowing training for members of the Armed Forces of Malta.

The U.S. Coast Guard has an outstanding relationship with the Armed Forces of Malta. In 2005, Malta was the first country outside of the Western Hemisphere to have a Coast Guard Attaché, and in 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard and Armed Forces of Malta signed a Search and Rescue Memorandum of Understanding.  This relationship combined with mobile training teams and in-resident training, the Armed Forces of Malta has become a maritime safety and security exporter in the Central Mediterranean region.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in U.S. Sixth Fleet, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness and sharing best practices with partner nation Navies and Coast Guards.

USCGC Hamilton is the fourth national security cutter and is the fifth cutter to be named for the father of the U.S. Coast Guard – Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury and advocate for the creation of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service.

The U.S. Coast Guard remains operational during COVID-19, following all COVID-19 safety precautions and regulations.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.