Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous returns home after interdicting more than $373 million in cocaine

A crewmember from the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous embraces his children July 11, 2016, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The cutter's crew returned home following a 55-day deployment in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in support of the Coast Guard's Western Hemisphere Strategy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake

A crewmember from the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous embraces his children July 11, 2016, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The crew of the Virginia Beach – based Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous returned from a 55-day deployment in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in support of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy Monday.

During the patrol, Vigorous transited more than 10,000 nautical miles in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Within a few days of leaving Virginia Beach, Vigorous interdicted a sailing vessel in the Atlantic Ocean, seizing more than 1,200 pounds of cocaine and detaining the three individuals on board. Vigorous embarked an MH-65 helicopter, trained in aviation and shipboard use of force, then transited through the Panama Canal.

Additionally, Vigorous’ crew conducted seven additional at-sea boardings, detaining nine suspected drug smugglers, preventing 26 metric tons of cocaine, with a wholesale value of more than $373 million, from reaching the United States.  Vigorous also rescued three survivors who were found adrift in their vessel more than 200 nautical miles from the nearest point of land.

“Our crew performed magnificently throughout our highly-successful, 55-day Joint Inter-Agency Task Force – South patrol. With the help of our international, and inter-agency partners, we interdicted drug laden suspect vessels in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and prevented over 26 metric tons of cocaine from reaching our shores,” said Cmdr. Arthur Ray, commanding officer of the Vigorous. “In short, while standing the watch, we did our part in ensuring the maritime domain in the Western Hemisphere was safe and secure.”

Vigorous is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew of approximately 80 that conducts maritime safety, security and stewardship operations.

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