Coast Guard Boarding Team Fired Upon By Suspected Smugglers

A Coast Guard boarding team from the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba was fired upon from a go-fast vessel they were pursuing off the coast of Nicaragua in the early morning of Sept. 14. No Coast Guard personnel were injured in the incident, no rounds came in contact with the Coast Guard boat and there was no damage to Coast Guard property.

The Coast Guardsmen were aboard the Escanaba’s over-the-horizon small boat and were closing on a vessel suspected of smuggling drugs.

The Coast Guardsmen returned fire, and the coxswain of the boat took evasive action and resumed pursuit. A short time later the vessel entered the territorial seas of Nicaragua and contact with the suspect was subsequently lost.

“While it is rare to have Coast Guard personnel fired upon, this incident serves to remind us of the ruthless nature of smugglers, the disregard they have for human life and the dangers our men and women face when enforcing laws and treaties on the high seas,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, chief of media relations for the U.S. Coast Guard

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