April 14 (UPI) -- Three U.S. Coast Guard cutters arrived at Naval Station Rota, Spain, after a 10-day transit of the Atlantic Ocean, the Navy's 6th Fleet announced on Wednesday.
The deployments are indicative of a new Navy/Coast Guard joint strategy which emphasizes the law enforcement operations of the Coast Guard, officials said in a press release.
The Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Hamilton and the Sentinel-class fast response cutters USCGC Charles Moulthrope and USCGC Robert Goldman completed a fuel stop at Rota before further travel, the Guard said.
The Hamilton, the Coast Guard's largest cutter, will deploy with the 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, while the Moulthrope and the Goldman will continue to Manama, Bahrain and the 5th Fleet.
The Bahrain-bound ships will replace smaller, Island-class Coast Guard vessels.
"The Coast Guard is a critical partner in the U.S. Tri-Service Maritime Strategy, working with both the Navy and Marine Corps teams to provide layered security, alongside our NATO Allies and partners, across the European and African waterways," said Rear Adm. Anthony Carullo, director of 6th Fleet maritime operations, in a statement on Wednesday.
The strategy, in place since 2020, raises the profile of the Coast Guard as it operates alongside the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
A document laying out the strategy notes that "the Coast Guard's mission profile makes it the preferred maritime security partner for many nations vulnerable to coercion."
"Integrating its unique authorities -- law enforcement, fisheries protection, marine safety, and maritime security -- with Navy and Marine Corps capabilities expands the options we provide to joint force commanders for cooperation and competition," the strategy document says.
Coast Guard assets have increasingly been involved in missions previously reserved for the Navy, notably a 2019 freedom of navigation patrol of the Taiwan Strait, between Taiwan and China.