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New cutters replace Coast Guard's aging, cash-strapped fleet

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

United States Coast Guard BM1 Christopher Valdes drives the 7.9-meter small boat alongside the United States Coast Guard Cutter William Flores on Oct.17 just off the shore of Miami Beach, Fla.

The U.S. Coast Guard is receiving new cutters to help replace its aging fleet. The USCGC William Flores is the third of 58 new Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters. The new cutter will be put into service officially on Nov. 3, according to Getty Images.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

A message is seen written on the window of the bridge on the United States Coast Guard Cutter William Flores on Oct 17 just off the shore of Miami Beach, Fla.

Reuters reports-- The U.S. Coast Guard is on the front lines of national security, but it struggles to complete its missions with one of the world's oldest maritime fleets and a multibillion dollar replacement program years behind schedule.

The cash-strapped service operates with frequent breakdowns and obsolete gear in what one U.S. congressman has called a "death spiral," of too few ships and too many missions.

If forced to give up some of its many jobs patrolling U.S. waters, that could mean more cocaine and illegal immigrants entering the United States, and fewer ships protecting boaters and fisheries and cleaning up oil spills, experts said. Read the full story.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

United States Coast Guard Executive Officer Catherine Gillen takes the conning in the bridge of the United States Coast Guard Cutter William Flores on Oct. 17 just off the shore of Miami Beach, Fla. The cutter is the third of a planned 58 Fast Response Cutters in the Sentinel Class as the U.S. Coast Guard continues to replace its aging fleet. On Nov. 3, the USCGC William Flores will be commissioned into service in Tampa, Florida.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

A container ship moves past the new United States Coast Guard Cutter William Flores on Oct. 17 just off the shore of Miami Beach, Fla.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The 26-foot small boat moves past the new United States Coast Guard Cutter William Flores after it was launched from the launch ramp on the back of the ship on Oct. 17 just off the shore of Miami Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

United States Coast Guard BM1 Christopher Valdes, left, and MK2 Cristobal Lopez ride in the 26-foot small boat after exiting from the back launch ramp of the United States Coast Guard Cutter William Flores on Oct. 17 just off the shore of Miami Beach, Fla.

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