Cutter Cypress returns home after 36-day law enforcement deployment

MOBILE, Ala. – The Coast Guard Cutter Cypress, a 225-foot buoy tender, arrived today to its homeport in Mobile, Ala., after a groundbreaking 36-day patrol south of Florida in support of Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE) and Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations (AMIO).

After leaving Mobile March 5, the patrol began on an exciting note when Cypress detected a “go-fast” boat on just her second night in the Straits of Florida. Cypress and one of her small boats pursued the vessel until additional assets from Coast Guard Station Key West arrived on scene. The go-fast’s engines were disabled and Cypress took custody of the suspected smugglers.

Cypress fulfilled her primary role as a “holding platform” for a cumulative total of seven suspected smugglers and 76 Cuban migrants who had been interdicted. While on board the cutter, migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical care.

Cypress ended the patrol on an exciting note with two more “go-fast” chases. On April 3rd, Cypress and the cutter Drummond pursued another go-fast vessel. The following night, the same vessel reappeared in the area and Cypress again began pursuit. With a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon Jet from Air Station Miami providing air support, Cypress tracked the vessel for one and half hours until the cutters Drummond and Key Biscayne trapped the vessel. Cypress took custody of the suspected smugglers and their boat and brought them back to Key West for further disposition by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

During Cypress’ return transit to Mobile, her crew serviced a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoy in the Yucatan Channel. This 40-foot diameter weather buoy, over 200 miles from land, collects and transmits on-scene weather conditions, assisting mariners with voyage planning as well as providing critical early warning and tracking data for Atlantic Basin hurricanes. Cypress also retrieved an adrift NOAA tsunami buoy, part of a series of experimental buoys designed to give U.S. coastal residents early warnings of approaching tsunamis.

Cypress logged over 600 hours underway and steamed more than 4, 500 miles during her first-ever MLE-AMIO patrol in the Coast Guard’s Seventh District.

The Cypress is a 225-foot buoy tender with a primary mission of servicing more than 120 Aids to Navigation across the Gulf Coast from Brownsville, Tx., to Appalachee Bay, Fla., Cypress’ multi-mission support also encompasses Search and Rescue, Maritime Law Enforcement, Maritime Homeland Security, Marine Environmental Protection and Response, and National Defense.

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