44-year-old Coast Guard Cutter to Return from Multi-Mission Patrol

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard NewsSAN DIEGO — Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell is scheduled to return to home port in San Diego from a two and a half-month deployment in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Nov. 20, 2012, at approximately 9:30 a.m.

During this deployment, the crew of the Boutwell successfully interdicted a drug smuggling vessel, seized approximately 1,300 pounds of cocaine and took five suspected smugglers into custody.

Boutwell was on patrol in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South when a Navy maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious vessel in international waters approximately 50 miles off the coast of Guatemala. Boutwell was vectored in to investigate. Pursuit boats launched from the cutter, intercepted the drug-laden vessel as the suspected crew attempted to jettison contraband overboard and flee.

One of Boutwell’s pursuit boat crews recovered eight bales weighing approximately 165 pounds each. The second boat crew pursued, intercepted and stopped the suspected smugglers’ boat.

This was Boutwell’s second deployment to the Eastern Pacific Ocean since changing its homeport to San Diego in May, 2011. These patrols have resulted in the seizure of nearly 2,700 pounds of cocaine, and this interdiction was the 20th major drug seizure for the 45-year-old cutter. It brings the crew’s total drug disruption amount to approximately 4,500 pounds in the last year.

Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by the Joint Interagency Task Force South headquartered in Key West, Fla. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occurs under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.

During a visit to Golfito, Costa Rica, Sep. 27, the crew participated in a joint community relations event with the Costa Rican coast guard teaming up to rehabilitate a local school including debris removal, building maintenance and landscaping.

The 44-year-old Boutwell and the other Secretary-class high endurance cutters, are being replaced by the Legend-class, National Security Cutters (NSCs). The NCSs are better equipped, more durable, safer, and more efficient than their predecessor, and will allow the Coast Guard to deliver its unique blend of military capability, law enforcement authority, and lifesaving expertise wherever needed to protect American interests, today and for decades to come.

Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell is a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in San Diego, with a crew of approximately 160. Commissioned in 1968, Boutwell is the one of the nine remaining 378-foot Hamilton Class High Endurance Cutters.

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