VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Coast Guard Cutter Dependable returned to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story homeport Aug. 23 following a successful drug interdiction of 650 lbs. of marijuana, halting drug smugglers off the coast of Jamaica, migrant repatriation and search and rescue.
For 38 days, the cutter patrolled the vast geographic area for a total of 6,600 nautical miles steamed from the Florida Straits to the North Caribbean Sea to perform vital homeland security missions in halting the flow of illegal migrants and illicit drugs into the United States.
“I’m very proud of the Dependable crew,” said Cmdr. Bob Little, Cutter Dependable’s commanding officer. “The crew demonstrated exceptional fortitude during this short but demanding patrol, deterring and interdicting threats to the homeland, such as human and narcotics trafficking, far from our shores. I hope our efforts will help to dismantle the criminal networks that benefit from these illegal activities.”
Exemplifying its motto of, “Count on us,” Dependable’s crew accomplished the following notable operational milestones during its short deployment:
Aug. 3: Dependable’s law enforcement team interdicted a go-fast vessel smuggling narcotics north of Jamaica, detained four narcotics traffickers, and seized 650 lbs., of marijuana packaged in 25 bales with a street value of approximately $600,000. The four suspected smugglers and narcotics were escorted to Miami, Florida, arriving Aug. 21 for the drug offload and U.S. prosecution.
Jul. 31: Dependable’s crew rendered humanitarian aid to rescue two men lost at sea when their vessel ran out of fuel, food, and water. The two men were cared, medically evaluated and safely transferred to Dominican Republic authorities.
Jul. 22: Dependable’s crew processed, cared for, and facilitated the repatriation of 88 illegal migrants attempting to transit the Florida Straits en route to South Florida.
The Little Creek-based Cutter Dependable recently had a permanent change of station from Cape May to Virginia Beach May 30. Classified as a 210-foot Reliance Class Medium Endurance Cutter, Dependable has a crew complement of 75 that conducts homeland security missions in maritime safety, security, and stewardship operations in the Western Hemisphere coastal waters stretching from the United States and Canadian maritime border off New England, to the Florida Straits and greater Caribbean Sea.
Nearing its 47th anniversary serving America, Dependable and the other 26 aging medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by a new class of cutters.
The new Offshore Patrol Cutter will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners, superior to the cutters they replace. Equipped with modern sensors, the OPC will provide the enhanced surveillance 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.