TAMPA, Fla. – A historic Coast Guard cutter from 9/11 that was set to be sold to Indonesia might be headed back to the United States, according to sources inside the U.S. State Department, as it appears that plans for the sale to the Republic of Indonesia have unraveled.
The Coast Guard Cutter Adak, which was built in 1989 and originally homeported in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, led the evacuation of people who were stranded in lower Manhattan following the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
On April 2 of this year, the U.S. Coast Guard informed Congress of their intent to sell the aging cutter to the Republic of Indonesia. However, as news of the controversial sale spread, the head of the Indonesian Coast Guard said they are not interested.
According to a news article published by CNN Indonesia, Indonesia is not interested in acquiring the historic Coast Guard Cutter Adak, which played a critical life-saving role following the attacks on 9/11. On that tragic day, the Adak oversaw maritime security and coordinated evacuation efforts, helping to transport first responders and overseeing the rescue of more than half a million people from the island.
Vice Admiral Aan Kurnia, the head of the Indonesia Maritime Security Agency, known as BAKAMLA, spoke to CNN Indonesia on Friday.
According to CNN, Kurnia said the two countries had only discussed the possibility of a purchase, and that they were not interested in America’s used vessels.
“I’m also not interested in used vessels, I prefer to build my own ships in Indonesia,” Kurnia told CNN Indonesia.
The South China Morning Post also confirmed Indonesia’s lack of interest, when they spoke to Kurnia and he informed them that they planned to boost their fleets with new vessels, rather than acquiring the aging U.S.’s secondhand ships.
The Adak is currently finishing up its final patrols in the Arabian Gulf while serving under the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet in support of the U.S. Central Command mission before it is set to be decommissioned this July.
The USCGC Adak Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Tampa, Florida, has been working on plans for more than a year to bring the Adak back to America, where they plan to turn it into a 9/11 memorial, museum, and mentorship training platform for youth at a potential location in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Additionally, representatives from the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham museum in Key West, Florida have also expressed interest in working with the USCGC Adak Historical Society to provide the Adak a home, should they receive the cutter.
“I sincerely hope these sources are indeed correct and that the Adak can come back to the U.S., so we might be able to move forward with our plans,” said James Judge, a former Adak crew member and founder of the USCGC Adak Historical Society. “So far, our efforts have garnered bi-partisan support from eight members of congress and the more that people hear about it, the more support continues to build for our cause.”
As of Tuesday morning, the Change.org petition to stop the sale of the Adak had already garnered more than 11,000 signatures from Americans in all 50 states since being launched just over two weeks ago.
Eight bi-partisan members of Congress have also sent letters to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security asking to stop the sale. The letters suggest that one of several identical cutters, which are also scheduled to be decommissioned, could be offered in the Adak’s place. However, now that Indonesia has stated that they are not interested in the used vessels, it is unclear if that would even need to be considered.
“The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Adak played a critical role in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As we approach the 20th anniversary of one of America’s darkest days, the Adak serves as a reminder of American courage, sacrifice and resilience in the days and years following this attack on our freedom and way of life. Selling this significant historic symbol to a foreign nation would be incredibly shortsighted,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin, (R-NY), who sent one of the letters urging the U.S. Department of State to halt the sale.
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