MAYPORT, Fla. — The Coast Guard Cutter Maria Bray and crew returned to their homeport at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville in Atlantic Beach, Fla., October 4 following a 30-day deployment during which crewmembers were directly engaged in operations involving 75 Cuban migrants.
The Maria Bray left homeport Oct. 5, 2012, and headed to Miami and Key West, Fla., in support of the cutter's primary mission of aids to navigation, but the crew demonstrated their multi-mission capabilities when they were called upon during their deployment to assist other Coast Guard cutters with migrant operations.
The crew of the Maria Bray partnered with the Coast Guard Cutter Sawfish, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West, and Coast Guard Cutter Kodiak Island, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West, to repatriate several of the Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba Sept. 21, 2012. A press release with more details is available HERE.
In total during the 30-day deployment, 75 Cuban migrants went aboard the Maria Bray. The cutter housed many of the migrants for 20 days before repatriating them.
Though not common, Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations is one of the many missions performed by the 175-foot buoy tender.
"We took part in this operation to relieve pressure on other Coast Guard afloat assets so they could complete missions in other areas of the Caribbean," said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Cartwright, the commanding officer of the Maria Bray. "The crew has done an amazing job switching their focus from aids to navigation servicing to migrant interdiction and back to ATON."
The Coast Guard Cutter Maria Bray is a 175-foot buoy tender, and the crew's primary mission is maintaining more than 300 aids to navigation from Georgetown, S.C., to Ft. Pierce, Fla., and near Andros Island, Bahamas. Other missions include marine environmental protection, search and rescue, and migrant interdiction.