Alaska-based Coast Guard cutter deploys to Gulf of Mexico to assist with oil spill cleanup

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Cordova, was deployed to support cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico immediately following their completion of Tailored Ships Training Availability in Everett, Wash., June 18.

“A day after we finished up with TSTA we learned that we were heading to the Gulf,” said Lt. Chad Conrad, operations officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore. We’ve only known for five days now, but we’ve done a lot of work to get us as prepared as we can get.”

The Sycamore is a versatile platform that can be used for pollution response, command and control, logistics, or other roles in addition to the primary missions of maintaining aids to navigation, search and rescue, and law enforcement. The cutter crew has the capability to deploy skimming and oil containment equipment known as the Spilled Oil Recovery System. The cutter’s crew of 42 joins more than 70 Alaska-based Coast Guard personnel who have been assigned to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Responding to disasters is an important Coast Guard mission. Alaska-based Coast Guard personnel, aircraft, vessels and equipment have regularly deployed to disasters such as the Haitian earthquake, California wildfires, floods, tsunamis, and other major response and relief operations. Some 2,259 active duty, 57 Reserves, 271 civilian and 490 Auxiliary personnel are based in Alaska.

The deployment of Coast Guard personnel from Alaska has been, and will remain, an important part of response operations. In keeping with our commitment to the communities of Alaska, we will ensure our local response capabilities remain adequate in our region.

Shore-based maintenance teams and other Alaska-based buoy tenders will cover the Sycamore’s aids-to-navigation duties while the cutter is deployed to the Gulf of Mexico. The ship is expected to be deployed for several months. The Sycamore left homeport May 24 to attend TSTA.

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