Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma returns to homeport after 90-day patrol

Multiple Haitian migrants sit on the deck of a freighter during an interdiction conducted Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018 by the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma crew approximately 30 miles east of Great Inagua, Bahamas. Approximately 1,040 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally migrate to the U.S. via the maritime environment since the beginning of the 2018 fiscal year, which started in Oct.1 compared to 1,869 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2017. US Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma

Multiple Haitian migrants sit on the deck of a freighter during an interdiction conducted Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018 by the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma. US Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma

BOSTON — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma returned home Friday to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME after a 90-day patrol conducting humanitarian and law enforcement operations in the Caribbean Sea.

During the patrol, the crew conducted alien migrant interdiction operations and counter-drug law enforcement patrols in the Windward Pass, Mona Pass, and Leeward Islands. The crew facilitated the safe repatriation of 352 Haitian migrants in collaboration with the Royal Bahamas Defense Force. They also rendered aid to 202 migrants who were rescued off of two overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels.

In addition to law enforcement and humanitarian aid, Tahoma’s crew rendered aid to an American vessel in distress off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. Adrift at night with a broken sailing mast and an engine unable to carry their passengers safely through the rough weather, the two-person crew of the New Hampshire-based sailing vessel Invictus was safely escorted to shore by Tahoma.

While on port call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, members of Tahoma’s crew also volunteered to assist in ongoing recovery efforts following the devastating aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Crewmembers spent the day at a local boys’ home repairing damage, clearing debris, and playing sports and games with the kids.

Tahoma’s execution of Coast Guard missions in the Caribbean was conducted with the assistance of two helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico. Their efforts supported the missions of Coast Guard’s Seventh District and Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a national task force dedicated to stopping illegal trafficking in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean waters. In total, Tahoma and her crew sailed more than 14,000 nautical miles in support of the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy.

“The crew of Tahoma and her partners have carried out extremely important operations these past three months, saving lives and deterring illegal activities in the Caribbean,” said Cmdr. Tim Brown, commanding officer of the Tahoma. “The Coast Guard’s missions of law enforcement, search and rescue, and humanitarian aid have all been supported by a dedicated crew who have worked hard to achieve extraordinary results.”

Tahoma has a crew complement of 100 and is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter based out of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME. Tahoma and other ships in its class will eventually be replaced by the new Offshore Patrol Cutter, which will be able to carry out Coast Guard missions with greater endurance and interoperability with military and federal partners.

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