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Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 11:00am

Eagle To Skip St. Patrick's Day

The U.S. Coast Guard is cancelling the appearance of the tall ship Eagle at this weekend's St. Patrick's Day festivities in Savannah.

The 259 ft. barque will dock instead in Charleston because of the sequester.

"We're looking for areas where we can gain efficiency and save money under current budget reductions," says Coast Guard spokesman Jamie Frederick. "I think it's important to remember that our primary objective is to preserve our ability to meet the highest priority missions and activities. And Eagle's highest mission is to train our future leaders."

Eagle crew members are among the first in the Coast Guard to feel the effects of a nearly $300 million hit to the force's budget because Congress couldn't reach agreement on spending.

Coast Guard officials say some of the force's biggest cuts will come in the form of deferred maintenance to its aging fleet.

"We're looking for areas where we can save money under the sequester. We meet a challenge here where we have to manage our reduced funding," says Frederick. "In a case like this, we're looking for areas where we can reduce administrative expenses."

Separately, U.S. Navy officials say they're also cancelling Savannah St. Patrick's Day events, including appearances of the Navy Band and a special parachuting stunt team.

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