Coast Guard Cutter Seneca celebrates 25 years, to hold change of command

BOSTON — The Boston-based Coast Guard Cutter Seneca will celebrate its 25th anniversary and conduct a change of command, Friday.

Cmdr. Larry Kiley will relieve Cmdr. Charles Fosse as commanding officer of the 270-foot medium-endurance Coast Guard Cutter Seneca.

Medium endurance cutters like the Seneca are built for multi-week offshore patrols including operations requiring enhanced communications, and helicopter and pursuit boat operations, which provide a key capability for homeland security operations at sea.

Since 1987, Seneca has consistently performed missions to that effect, making history in 2011 as the first crew to intercept a self-propelled semi-submersible in the Caribbean and the first to conduct an underwater drug removal of an SPSS. Typically used to transport illegal narcotics in the Eastern Pacific, the SPSS was stopped and boarded by Seneca crews. The estimated value of the interdiction was more than $180 million. The story, along with more video, audio, and photographs, is available here.

The 25-year-old Seneca and the other 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.

“America should be proud of Cutter Seneca’s 25 years of dedicated service saving lives, enforcing laws and protecting fisheries and the environment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Camilla Bosanquet, the executive officer on the Seneca.

Over the past 25 years, Seneca has intercepted nearly $300 million worth of narcotics and saved more than 400 lives.

The 25th anniversary ceremony will begin at 1 p.m., attended by former commanding officers of Seneca, and former commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral James Gracey (ret).

The anniversary ceremony will be followed by the change of command at 3 p.m.

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