Coast Guard Cutter Venturous returns to homeport after successful patrol

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous, a 210-foot Reliance class cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, returned Saturday, July 1, 2017 following a 60-day training and law enforcement patrol in the mid-Atlantic Ocean in support of Operation Ocean Hunter.  During the patrol, the crew conducted a three-week training evaluation at Naval Station Mayport and a five-week Coast Guard District Five patrol in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous, a 210-foot Reliance class cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, returned Saturday, July 1, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Coast Guard Cutter Venturous crew returned Saturday following a 60-day training and law enforcement patrol in the mid-Atlantic Ocean in support of Operation Ocean Hunter.

During the patrol, the crew conducted a three-week training evaluation at Naval Station Mayport and a five-week Coast Guard District Five patrol in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

The crew of the Venturous transited more than 7,000 nautical miles patrolling the waters east of North Carolina and Virginia, enforcing Living Marine Resources (LMR) laws and ensuring compliance with Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations.

During the first three weeks of the patrol, the Venturous crew took part in a Tailored Ship’s Training Availability. During the training period, the cutter’s crew displayed their proficiency with damage control fundamentals, navigation and seamanship, combat systems, and numerous other casualty control and response procedures.

“Due to the crew’s superb performance in all mission areas, the Venturous earned the coveted Battle “E” award and a “clean sweep” for successfully passing 110 drills with a 96 percent average,” said Ens. Benjamin Chapman, the cutter’s training officer.

During the patrol, Venturous law enforcement teams conducted 30 boardings aboard various commercial fishing vessels and recreational boats. The Venturous crew members issued six notices of violations for LMR and SOLAS requirements and terminated the voyage of three commercial vessels for unsafe conditions. The Venturous crew escorted the terminated boats safely back to port.

One particular escort was more than 36 hours, as Venturous crew remained on scene with the fishing vessel after finding three major safety violations. The fishing vessel escort was eventually handed off to the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sea Horse, an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat homeported at Little Creek, Va.

“Exploring the island and interacting with Bermudian maritime counterparts was a once in a lifetime opportunity, highlighting the interoperability and capability of partner nations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sky Holm, executive officer of the Venturous.

Furthering international partnerships, the Venturous crew served as a search and rescue contingency response asset during America’s Cup, a sailing race from June 17-19 in Hamilton, Bermuda. While there, the crew was granted a two-day port call.

“This was a unique patrol for the Venturous and one I will always remember,” said Cmdr. Mike Gesele, the commanding officer of the Venturous. “The crew performed flawlessly, and it has been an honor leading this dedicated crew these past two years.”

This was the final patrol for Gesele. The crew is scheduled for a change of command ceremony July 20.

“Gesele’s extensive knowledge and fervor for operations have guided the Venturous crew’s success over the past two years,” said Ens. Zachary Frohn, the cutter’s weapons officer.

The Venturous crew also took part in helicopter work-up exercises for deck landing qualifications and currency of flight deck personnel and helicopter aircrews. Venturous personnel also conducted Helicopter In-Flight Refueling (HIFR) and Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) operations, considered some of the most dangerous flight evolutions for aircrew and cutter personnel alike.

The Venturous is a 210-foot Reliance class cutter, homeported in St. Petersburg and has a crew of 76. Medium endurance cutters, like the Venturous, are slated for replacement by a new class of cutter – the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). With the ability to operate more than 50 miles from land, the OPC will be a multi-mission asset, providing surface and air pursuit capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners.

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