Coast Guard Cutter Dependable returns to Virginia Beach following Eastern Caribbean patrol

The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable transits toward the pier at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Sept. 27, 2016. Dependable returned home following a successful counter-drug and migrant patrol through the Florida Straights and the Caribbean Sea. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake)

The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable transits toward the pier at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Sept. 27, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable returned to their homeport Tuesday following a successful 53-day patrol, which focused on training, counter-drug and migrant missions.

The cutter patrolled from the Florida Straits and throughout the Caribbean Sea performing homeland security missions, which included stopping the flow of illegal migrants and illicit drugs into the United States.

During the patrol, Dependable’s crew worked closely with the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, the Navy of the Dominican Republic, and Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard air and surface assets to counter illegal drug smuggling and human smuggling.

On Sept. 22, 2016, Dependable’s crew assisted the Royal Bahamian Defense Force in the rescue of nine survivors from a sailing vessel in distress. Over the course of six hours, Dependable and the Royal Bahamian Defense Force searched for and located the sailing vessel Change of Life aground on a reef south of Great Inagua, Bahamas.

Less than 24 hours later, Dependable, along with Her Majesty’s Bahamian Ship Leon Livingston Smith rescued 10 Cuban migrants who had been stranded for 10 days on Anguilla Cay near Caysal Bank in the Florida Straits. The migrants had run out of food and water three days prior to the rescue.

“This patrol provided a great opportunity to work with many of our partner nations who share an interest in curbing illegal maritime activity in the Western Hemisphere.” said Cmdr. Bob Little, Dependable’s commanding officer. “As always, the crew of Dependable did outstanding work keeping 48-year-old legacy cutter fully mission capable.”

Virginia Beach-based Cutter Dependable is a 210-foot Reliance Class Medium Endurance Cutter, with a crew of 75. Nearing her 49th year serving America, Dependable and the other 26 aging medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by a new class of cutters.

The new Offshore Patrol Cutter will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners, superior to the cutters they replace. Equipped with modern sensors, the OPC will provide the enhanced surveillance necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guard’s homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.

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