The US Coast Guard cutter USCGC Hamilton, which is deploying with the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, is making a port visit to Valletta, Malta, following drills with Malta’s armed forces, according to the US Navy.
It is a rare mission for a Coast Guard vessel, but the deployment entails partnering with partners to share best practises in maritime law enforcement with partner nation navies and coast guards.
Since leaving Puerto Rico in April, the cutter has toured the Black Sea and trained with the Italian and Turkish navies.
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.
Officers and crew will participate in training drills with the Armed Forces of Malta, whose Maritime Safety and Security Training Centre is modelled after the US Coast Guard’s own search and rescue academy, which is recognised as the world’s best source for SAR training.
2Lt. Miguel Cauchi is the first member of the Armed Forces of Malta to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.
President Joe Biden paid a visit to the Academy on Wednesday to attend graduation ceremonies, which were closed to the public due to COVID-19 questions, and to deliver 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.”