Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba assists disabled sailing vessel in Caribbean Sea

Coast Guard assists disabled=

Chief Warrant Officer Paul Barrosa assists a crewmember of a disabled sailing vessel onto the Escanaba's smallboat.

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba assisted a disabled sailing vessel in the Caribbean Sea Friday.

Escanaba’s crew responded to a distress call early Friday morning from the 74-foot sailing vessel Caribbean Reach, homeported in Key West, Fla.

The Caribbean Reach crew was sailing about 40 miles east of Cuba when they reported their engine had failed and the sails and rigging were broken.

Escanaba’s crew quickly arrived on scene and determined that the vessel could not be repaired in the six-foot seas and strong winds. Escanaba crewmembers took the Caribbean Reach in tow and safely embarked its crewmembers aboard the cutter.  Escanaba’s quick response was due in large part to its current deployment in the region. Escanaba is a forward presence conducting operations to deter and interdict illicit traffickers.

The Escanaba can maintain a forward presence offshore, bringing its command, control and communications capability, as well as patrol capability, to the blue water environment and in the littorals.

“It is great that we were able to rapidly respond and switch between Coast Guard missions,” said Cmdr. Ed Westfall, Escanaba’s commanding officer.  “This case shows that alert watchstanding, training and preparation makes us ready to answer the call when it comes.  This is what we do, and it is always satisfying when it comes together to help someone in distress.”

The 29 ships of the Medium-Endurance Cutter fleet are the workhorses of the Coast Guard’s offshore patrol fleet, and routinely conduct many of the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions.  This capability, forward deployed, supports national goals of having the right asset at the right place at the right time.  The value of forward deployed Medium-Endurance Cutters was demonstrated in 2010 when the cutters Forward, Mohawk, Tahoma, and Valiant were some of the first U.S. assets on scene in Haiti in the initial hours after the devastating January earthquake.  Medium-Endurance Cutters patrol the ocean ranging from offshore the East, Gulf, West and Alaskan Coasts of the United States, the Eastern Pacific, the Caribbean Sea, and South America.

The Escanaba is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Boston.

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