Colombo, February 23, 2024 ( – Today, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Richard Verma, announced the United States’ intention to transfer a fourth medium endurance cutter/ship to Sri Lanka, pending completion of Congress’ notification period. The Department of State has allocated $9 million in Foreign Military Financing to support this effort, emphasizing the commitment to strengthening defense cooperation between the two nations.

During his visit to Sri Lanka, Deputy Secretary Verma met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, discussing avenues to deepen defense and maritime collaboration. The proposed transfer aims to enhance Sri Lanka’s capabilities in patrolling its Exclusive Economic Zone, monitoring search and rescue areas, and providing additional security for ships navigating the busy sea lanes of the Indian Ocean.

Speaking aboard the SLNS Vijayabahu, one of three former U.S. Coast Guard cutters previously transferred to Sri Lanka, Deputy Secretary Verma stated, “This potential transfer would further strengthen defense cooperation between the United States and Sri Lanka, contributing to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.”

The announcement event at Colombo Port included key figures such as Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Defense, Premitha Bandara Tennakoon, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung. Ambassador Chung highlighted the historical cooperation between the two nations in countering human trafficking, drug trafficking, and supporting humanitarian and disaster response efforts.

If completed, the transfer of the fourth vessel will mark another milestone in the enduring partnership between Sri Lanka and the United States, working towards maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (