Coast Guard Cutter Forward back from patrol, disrupts approx. $10.5 million contraband in the Caribbean

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Forward transits toward its homeport of Portsmouth, Va., Feb. 28, 2016. The crew completed a two-month-long patrol in the western and central Caribbean Sea that resulted in the seizure of more than 124 kilograms of cocaine and disruption of more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake)

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Forward transits toward its homeport of Portsmouth, Va., Feb. 28, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Forward returned to their homeport of Portsmouth, Virginia,Sunday, following a two-month long patrol in the western and central Caribbean Sea that resulted in the seizure of more than 124 kilograms of cocaine and disruption of more than 3,000 lbs. of marijuana with a combined worth of approximately $10.5 million.

These counter-drug interdictions were carried out as part of Operation Martillo, an international detection, monitoring and interdiction operation bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies (Joint Interagency Task Force South). During this operation, the Cutter Forward worked jointly with several nations in the central Caribbean to include the Bahamas, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

In addition to stemming the flow of illicit contraband, Cutter Forward lead a joint search and rescue for a capsized Nicaraguan tour boat in February.

Cutter Forward is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter home-ported in Portsmouth, Virginia ,that operates in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico for the commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area.  Its missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, defense readiness, and ports, waterways, and coastal security.

The 26-year old Cutter Forward, along with the service’s 26 other medium endurance cutters, is slated to be replaced by a new fleet of Offshore Patrol Cutters that 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 interagency interoperability. Its advanced technical features include modern sensors and enhanced surveillance capabilities 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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