California Coast Guard cutter assists in Haiti relief efforts

MIAMI—The San Diego-based Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton is supporting humanitarian efforts in Haiti by providing logistical and command support for relief operations.

The 378-foot cutter was underway in the Eastern Pacific Ocean when an earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 12, 2010. Hamilton’s crew was ordered to sail through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean the following day.

During the transit through the canal, crewmembers worked overtime to ensure the crew and ship were prepared to assist with relief efforts.

"Hamilton's crew responded to the news of our re-tasking in support of disaster relief with professionalism and flexibility,” said Cmdr. Douglas Goodwin, Hamilton's executive officer.

Coast Guard helicopters are using Hamilton as a refueling hub to speed the transport of injured people from Port Au Prince to nearby hospitals.

"At-sea refueling operations onboard Hamilton allow H-60 helicopters to remain on scene longer to help with relief efforts and not require a long transit back to refuel, " said Lt. Kraig Jones, pilot and assistant public affairs officer for Air Station Clearwater.

Hamilton was commissioned in 1967 is the oldest of twelve 378-foot High Endurance Cutters. The crew routinely patrols throughout the Pacific Ocean conducting maritime safety, security, mobility and national defense missions.

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