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PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – The crew of the 210-foot, Port Canaveral-based Coast Guard Cutter Confidence returned to homeport May 15, concluding a 46-day deployment to the central Caribbean.
The crew of the Confidence departed Port Canaveral March 31, 2013, to conduct a homeland security, law enforcement, and alien migrant interdiction patrol, and while on patrol saved five lives and conducted three separate migrant interdictions.
"I am extremely proud of the Confidence crew,” said Confidence Commanding Officer Cmdr. James Passarelli. “They performed exceptionally during this fast-paced, dynamic deployment.”
While operating near Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic April 24, 2013, the Coast Guard received a report that the sailing vessel Wind Dancer was on scene with an approximately 50-foot Dominican Republic fishing vessel which was engulfed in flames and partially submerged. The Coast Guard immediately diverted multiple surface and air assets, including the Confidence, to the location to search for any survivors.
As the Confidence arrived on scene, amidst the debris and remains of the vessel, one crewman spotted four survivors clinging to a single water jug. Upon pulling the survivors out of the water, the survivors informed the Coast Guardsmen there was one more missing person who separated from the group in an attempt to swim after a passing vessel. The Confidence crew resumed its search with the help of a Coast Guard HC-144 aircraft, which spotted the fifth survivor about 45 minutes later.
The survivors stated they had been in the water about 15 hours before being rescued. All five were treated on board for various medical issues and were medically evacuated the following day by a Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to a hospital in the Dominican Republic.
The Confidence’s first migrant interdiction involved a 20-foot raft spotted April 3, 2013, by a Customs and Border Protection aircraft southwest of Key West, Fla. The 15 migrants who were aboard the rustic raft embarked the Confidence and were later repatriated to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.
The next two migrant interdictions involved the cruise ships Disney Wonder and Carnival Conquest embarking a combined 21 Cuban migrants from two separate rafts before transferring them to the Confidence. The migrants were later repatriated.
The crew of the Confidence primarily conducts homeland security, counter-drug and alien migrant interdiction patrols.