Coast Guard Cutter Midgett returns home after Bering Sea patrol

d13SEATTLE — The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett returned to its homeport of Coast Guard Base Seattle at Friday morning, after a successful 80-day patrol in the Bering Sea in support of Operation Bering Shield.

The Midgett departed Seattle on March 11 for Kodiak, Alaska, where several members of the operations department and law enforcement team attended the Commercial Fisheries Law Enforcement Training Course at the Coast Guard’s North Pacific Regional Fisheries Training Center at Coast Guard Base Kodiak. The training educates Coast Guard personnel about local fishery regulations and general practices, enabling Coast Guard units patrolling the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea to be knowledgeable and effective in aiding to sustain Alaskan commercial fisheries. The commercial fisheries of Alaska are one of the largest salmon, crab, and whitefish fisheries in the world and considered to be a model for successful stewardship of natural resources.

In late March, Midgett relieved the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley as the Bering Sea response asset near the Unimak Pass, the main passage through the Aleutian Islands. The two cutters conducted a successful towing evolution as training for both crews.

Throughout April and May, Midgett patrolled more than 500 nautical miles of ocean from Bristol Bay, near the mainland of Alaska, to Sitka Island, on the Western end of the Aleutian chain. The cutter conducted 31 law enforcement boardings of commercial fishing vessels to ensure compliance with federal fishing and safety of life at sea regulations. The ship and its embarked helicopter maintained a constant readiness as the primary search and rescue platform in the Bering Sea. The helicopter assisted in the medical evacuation of a sick merchant mariner.

The Midgett is a 378-foot high endurance cutter with a 160-person crew. The 41-year-old Midgett and its sister ship high endurance cutters are being replaced by eight Legend-class, National Security Cutters. The NSCs are faster, better equipped, more durable, safer and more efficient than their predecessors, 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.

The Coast Guard has maintained a presence in Alaskan waters since the territory was purchased in the mid 1800s, initially acting as the primary law enforcement agency in the United States’ newest frontier. The modern day Coast Guard has shifted its focus to aiding in sustaining the Alaskan Commercial Fisheries, maintain the capability to safeguard the maritime public in a dangerous environment, and defending the Nation’s interests in the Northern-most reaches of the country.

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