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US reiterates commitment to a sovereign Sri Lanka

The United States reiterated its commitment to a sovereign Sri Lanka able to protect its security and prosperity.

In a statement the US Embassy in Colombo said that a high endurance cutter, a gift from the US Coast Guard, arrived in Colombo on Sunday, May 12 after a 42-day voyage from Hawaii.

The ship was officially transferred to the Sri Lanka Navy in a ceremony held in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 27, 2018.

After the ceremony, the vessel underwent refit and upgrades while its new Sri Lankan crew participated in training.

“The cutter represents the United States’ commitment to a sovereign Sri Lanka able to protect its security and prosperity,” US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz said in the statement. “The Indo-Pacific must remain free and open to all nations.”

The cutter is the second U.S. Coast Guard ship to be given to Sri Lanka and, at 115m long, becomes the largest platform currently in the Sri Lanka Navy fleet.

Captain (ND) Rohitha Abeysinghe and the crew of 22 officers and 111 sailors were received by Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, and other senior officers from the Naval Headquarters and Western Naval Command. Senior staff conducted an initial ship inspection after the arrival ceremony.

The ship will receive its Sri Lankan name after its commissioning by President Maithripala Sirisena in the near future.

The new vessel will be utilized by the Sri Lanka Navy for patrol and surveillance missions in the deep seas around Sri Lanka, providing maritime security and assistance to search and rescue operations. The United States continues to support Sri Lanka and its allies in their efforts to promote a free and open Indo Pacific.

(Colombo Gazette)