Coast Guard cutter USCGC Hamilton visits Malta

The Legend-class U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Hamilton is pictured arriving in Valetta, Malta, earlier this week. Photo courtesy of U.S. 6th Fleet
The Legend-class U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Hamilton is pictured arriving in Valetta, Malta, earlier this week. Photo courtesy of U.S. 6th Fleet

May 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Hamilton, deployed with the U.S. Navy's Sixth Fleet, is conducting a port visit in Valletta, Malta, after exercises with Malta's armed forces, the U.S. Navy said on Wednesday.

It is an unusual assignment for a Coast Guard vessel, but the deployment includes working with allies to share best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards in maritime law enforcement.


The cutter has visited the Black Sea and trained with the Italian and Turkish navies since it left Puerto Rico in April.

The deployments are indicative of a new Navy and Coast Guard joint strategy which emphasizes the law enforcement operations of the Coast Guard.

The visit to Malta, an island republic in the Mediterranean Sea, was the ship's fifth stop during its involvement with the Sixth Fleet, following stops in Spain, Italy, Georgia and Ukraine.

"Hamilton was welcomed to Valletta with open arms," Capt. Timothy Cronin, commanding officer of the Legend-class cutter, said in a press release.

"The reception we received is evidence of the strong friendship we have with Malta and its people. Our visit represents America's commitment to enhancing Malta's maritime capabilities."


The ship's crew participated in ceremonies with Maltese government and military personnel.

"Our historic partnership with Malta goes back over 200 years when some 1,800 Maltese and Knights of the Order fought alongside George Washington to assist us in our War for Independence," said U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Gwendolyn S. Green.

"USCG cutter Hamilton's visit speaks volumes about Malta's strategic importance at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and our bilateral efforts to strengthen cooperation in this region," Green said.

During the visit, which officially began on Monday, officers and crew will engage in training exercises with the Armed Forces of Malta, whose Maritime Safety and Security Training Centre is modeled on the U.S. Coast Guard's own search and rescue school, regarded as the world's best source for SAR training.

2Lt. Miguel Cauchi is the first Armed Forces of Malta soldier to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

President Joe Biden visited the Academy on Wednesday to participate in graduation ceremonies, closed to the public because of COVID-19 concerns, and to provide the commencement address to 240 graduates.

"We have to make sure every country respects maritime rules," Biden said. "The world is changing and we need you even more. No class gets to choose the world into which he graduates. The challenges you're going to face in your career are going to look very different than those who walked these halls before."


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