ASTORIA, Ore. – The crew of the local Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast returned home to Astoria Wednesday, after successfully completing a 59-day counter-narcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific.
The 65-person Astoria-based crew was deployed in support of Joint Interagency Task Force – South, or JIATF-S, with the primary mission of detecting and interdicting illicit drug trafficking. Steadfast also successfully completed missions including search and rescue, endangered species protection, and international relations.
Over the course of the patrol Steadfast disrupted over 1,400 pounds of cocaine valued at over $19 million. Additionally, Steadfast rescued three Mexican fishermen in a joint search and rescue case with the Mexican Navy. The cutter also worked to protect endangered species by saving three Pacific Green Sea Turtles from severe entanglement in adrift fishing gear.
During the deployment, Steadfast traveled over 15,000 miles and earned over 40 crew qualifications. Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast is a 210-foot Medium-Endurance Cutter homeported in Astoria, Oregon. Nicknamed El Tiburon Blanco, or “The White Shark,” Steadfast’s primary missions include law enforcement, search and rescue, environmental protection, and fisheries enforcement.
Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by JIATF-S headquartered in Key West, Fla. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occur under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.