MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Reliance arrived back at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Dec. 25 to spend the Christmas holiday with their families.
The return home marked the end of a successful eight week deployment highlighted by two cases in the patrol's final days.
On the evening of Dec. 15th, Reliance found an overloaded sail freighter south of Great Inagua, Bahamas. The Reliance joined forces with the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Thetis, homeported in Key West, Fla., in removing 87 Haitian migrants from the unstable freighter. All were transferred to the Cutter Thetis, where they received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention before being returned to Haiti.
On the Dec. 17, a Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City aircrew spotted a northbound go-fast vessel suspected of smuggling drugs from the Caribbean islands to the United States by way of the Bahamas. The Reliance quickly responded and launched a small boat crew in pursuit of the vessel in question. The dual-outboard, fiberglass boat attempted to avoid detection, as it immediately fled at a high rate of speed when approached by the law enforcement team.
After a 30 minute chase, the Reliance's boarding team stopped the vessel, detained the four operators, and seized the 350 pounds of marijuana that was carried by the vessel. The contraband valued at more than $300,000.
Medium endurance cutters like the Reliance are built for multi-week offshore patrols including operations requiring enhanced communications, and helicopter and pursuit boat operations, which provide a key capability for homeland security operations at sea.
The Reliance is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.