A U. S. Navy 179-ft. Cyclone class patrol boat is scheduled to be formally commissioned as a Coast Guard cutter during a ceremony in their new homeport of Naval Station Pascagoula.
After commissioning, the Coast Guard Cutter Tempest will conduct homeland security, search and rescue and law enforcement operations in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Western Atlantic.
The Tempest is the fifth Cyclone class patrol boat commissioned as part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Navy and Coast Guard signed in 2004. Coast Guard cutters Monsoon (WPC-4) and Zephyr (WPC-8), homeported in San Diego , Calif., and cutters Tornado (WPC-14) and Shamal (WPC-13), homeported in Pascagoula.
The Cyclone class patrol boats fill a crucial gap in Coast Guard operational capacity at a time when the service continues its historic, high tempo of operations. In the past year since they were commissioned, the Tornado and Shamal, combined, have seized 4,150 pounds of illegal narcotics, interdicted 106 migrants, and provided waterway security during hurricanes Katrina and Rita relief efforts
The service's Atlantic Area Command encompasses more than 4 million square miles of navigable water including the Gulf of Mexico, most of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Coastal patrol boats play an important role in maintaining the tactical advantage in maintaining the security of our ports and waterways and other vital maritime interests. Because of their speed and armament, the Tempest , Tornado and Shamal are particularly well suited to perform the maritime homeland security mission
. The vessels were originally built as 170-foot patrol boats and were later fitted with a stern ramp modification that extended their length to 179 ft.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the Navy retains ownership as well as responsibility for all life cycle management/maintenance, depot management and casualty corrective service through 2008. The Coast Guard will assume responsibility for crew assignment, cutter funding, retrofitting, operation and management.