PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of the Portsmouth-based Coast Guard Cutter Bear returned home Wednesday following a two-month counterdrug patrol in the Caribbean Sea.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma recently took procession of the cutter Bear while the cutter Tahoma is in dry dock for planned maintenance.
Bear’s patrol highlights include:
- Voyaging to South America in support of three separate interagency, international operations focused on stemming the flow of illegal drugs into the United States
- Providing support to the HNLMS Van Amstel, a Royal Netherlands Naval vessel, which seized more than 1,800 pounds of cocaine and transferred the detainees and drugs to the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear
- Participating in Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Carib Venture and Operation Martillo
- Rendezvousing with the crew of the 210-foot Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless and transferring a seized shipment of marijuana to the Drug Enforcement Agency in Miami
The Coast Guard’s counterdrug patrols supported Operation Martillo, an international, interagency, counter-illicit trafficking effort focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies.
The Coast Guard Cutter Bear, along with the service’s 26 other medium endurance cutters, is slated to be replaced by a new fleet of Offshore Patrol Cutters that will have the endurance to operate more than 50 miles offshore to carry out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety missions. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interagency interoperability. Its advanced technical features include modern sensors and enhanced surveillance capabilities necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guard’s homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.