Coast Guard Cutter Spencer returns to Boston after Caribbean Sea deployment

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer file photo

BOSTON — The Coast Guard Cutter Spencer is scheduled to return to Boston, Friday at 8 a.m. after a 65-day patrol of the Caribbean Sea.

Spencer conducted several search and rescue cases as well as counter narcotics and migrant interdiction operations.

As part of Operation Martillo, Spencer intercepted four go-fast vessels suspected of trafficking drugs, and directly contributed to the seizure of 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) of marijuana and 1,677 kilograms (3,697 pounds) of cocaine worth approximately $50 million.

In addition, 11 suspected narcotic smugglers were taken into custody and were transferred to the offices of the United States Attorneys for prosecution.

“The action of being able to stop a go-fast vessel upon the high seas is a dangerous series of events that requires precise interaction between multiple entities and for everyone to be at the top of their game,” said Cmdr. Peter Niles commanding officer of the Spencer. “My crew made the hard seem easy and their families and friends should be proud of them.”

In Colón, Panama, Spencer’s boarding teams partnered with the National Aero-Naval Military Service of Panama to conduct a three-day joint boarding of a freighter suspected of smuggling narcotics. This effort solidified the relationships required for multi-nation partnering to stop the illicit flow of narcotics.

In mid-October while sailing the passage between Cuba and Mexico, Spencer’s crew rescued 24 passengers from a disabled vessel that was caught in 12-15-foot seas. Spencer’s crew was able to safely disembark the Cuban migrants as their vessel ran out of fuel and the sea state worsened.

“That was one of the most harrowing search and rescue cases in my 31 year career,” said Niles. “Without the skill of my Chief Boatswains mate as the boat coxswain, we may not have been able to rescue the Cubans from the perils of the sea.”

Operation Martillo, which is Spanish for hammer, is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere effort to target illicit trafficking.

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew compliment of 14 officers and 86 enlisted personnel.

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