Friday, February 11, 2011

Photo: Coast Guard of Canada Place

I don't know if she's still there today, but for Wednesday and Thursday at least, the western cruise ship berth at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver was host to an uncommon visitor: USCGC Hamilton, lead ship of the Hamilton class of high-endurance cutters operated by the United States Coast Guard. According to an article in the Juneau Empire, Hamilton is making a series of port visits while returning to her home port of San Diego, California after finishing a deployment in the Bering Sea.

When I first ran into her, before I could find any identifying marks, the Canadian flags that flew from Hamilton's mast made me think it was part of the Canadian Coast Guard. Nothing could be further from the truth. Canadian Coast Guard ships aren't even armed. Contrast this to Hamilton, which actually has a Phalanx CIWS mounted at her stern - meaning that its designers thought there was a legitimate chance that U.S. Coast Guard ships would find themselves in a position where they needed to be able to shoot down high-speed anti-ship missiles.

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