Coast Guard commissions 48th fast response cutter

(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned the 48th Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC), Pablo Valent (WPC 1148), into service at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson, commanding officer of the Coast Guard 7th District, presided over the ceremony. Cecilia Guillot, Valent’s great-niece, is the ship’s sponsor.

The cutter’s namesake Pablo Valent was originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, and joined the United States Life-Saving Service in 1912. In September 1919, Valent helped rescue the crew of the hurricane-damaged schooner Cape Horn off the coast of Texas. For his heroic efforts, Valent received the Silver Lifesaving Medal and the Grand Cross of the American Cross of Honor Society. Valent was one of the first Hispanic Americans to receive these honors.

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard cutter Pablo Valent man the ship during the commissioning ceremony Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Valent, built by Bollinger Shipyards, is the 48th FRC and is the first to be home-ported in St. Petersburg with missions including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, coastal security, and living marine resources. There are 12 other FRCs in Florida, which operate throughout the Caribbean Sea.

Each cutter is designed for a crew of 24, has a range of 2,500 miles and is equipped for patrols up to five days. The FRCs are part of the Coast Guard’s overall fleet modernization initiative.

FRCs feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment as well as over-the-horizon response boat deployment capability and improved habitability for the crew. The ships can reach speeds of 28 knots and are equipped to coordinate operations with partner agencies and long-range Coast Guard assets such as the Coast Guard’s national security cutters.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller