Coast Guard Cutter Valiant returns to Mayport after migrant, counter-narcotics patrol

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Valiant returned home to Naval Station Mayport Wednesday, after completing a six-week deployment in the Florida Straits and Eastern Caribbean Sea in support of operations Southeast Watch and Unified Resolve.

Cutter Valiant responded to a surge of illegal migration attempts in the Florida Straits following the U.S. government announcement to normalize relations with Cuba. The cutter humanely processed and cared for 160 Cuban migrants in a one-week period.

Coast Guard Cutter Valiant returns to Naval Station Mayport, Florida, Feb. 11, 2015. During their 41-day deployment the crew of the Valiant intercepted and processed more than 160 Cuban migrants. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Cutter Valiant returns to Naval Station Mayport, Florida, Feb. 11, 2015. During their 41-day deployment the crew of the Valiant intercepted and processed more than 160 Cuban migrants. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard.

 

Valiant also boarded and towed a coastal freighter following its failed attempt to deliver more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine into Puerto Rico. Valiant’s crewmembers conducted a search of the vessel, took custody of its crew, and towed the freighter over 120 miles to Ponce, Puerto Rico, where it was transferred to Homeland Security Investigations and Border Patrol authorities. The freighter’s crew was turned over for prosecution in federal court.

During the cutter’s logistics stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the crew took time to visit two orphanages that care for infants and primary school children. The crew distributed more than 200 new toys they brought with them from Mayport and spent two afternoons playing with the children.

Operation Unified Resolve is a counter-drug and counter-trafficking operation. The purpose is to deter, detect and disrupt illicit maritime trafficking destined for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Under Operation Southeast Watch, the U.S. Coast Guard works alongside interagency and international partners to prevent and respond to illegal maritime migration in the Caribbean Sea and Florida Straits.

Coast Guard Cutter Valiant is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter with a 75-member crew, homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.

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