Coast Guard Cutter Bear returns home to Portsmouth

5th Coast Guard District News
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear returned to their homeport in Portsmouth, Virginia Friday following a two-month long patrol in the Western Caribbean Sea.

During their patrol, Bear’s crew coordinated with multiple countries in Central and South America, along with partner agencies to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.

The unified effort resulted in the interdiction of multiple suspected drug smugglers and vessels transporting approximately 3,519 kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated value of $116 million.

“These large interdictions at sea are an effective way to combat transnational criminal organizations and reduce the amount of cocaine on the streets of America,” said Cmdr. Andrew D. Meverden, commanding officer of the Bear. “Every day Coast Guard men and women show outstanding dedication by leaving their families to serve the nation. I could not be more proud of the crew for their performance on this patrol.”

In addition to its seizures, the crew of the Bear saved two Nicaraguan fishermen that were stranded at sea for over two weeks.

The Bear’s interdictions were a part of Operation Martillo, which is an international effort to counter illicit trafficking in the Caribbean Sea.

Cutter Bear is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter that operates in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico for the commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area headquartered in Portsmouth. Its missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, defense readiness, and ports, waterways, and coastal security.

At 31 years old and holding the distinction of being the first “Famous Class” cutter, the Bear and 26 other medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by a new class of cutter. The Offshore Patrol Cutters will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety missions 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 will 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.

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