Coast Guard Cutter Dependable to return home from 51-day deployment

CAPE MAY, N.J. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable is scheduled to return to their homeport here Tuesday following a 51-day North Atlantic patrol in support of search and rescue, law enforcement, living marine resources enforcement and homeland security operations.

After leaving their homeport June 7, the crew of the cutter was diverted to respond to a report of a deceased whale 150 miles east of Cape Cod, Mass. The crew arrived on scene and discovered a deceased humpback whale. The whale was approximately 30-feet in length and was entangled in netting connected to a fish marker on the surface of the water. Crew members proceeded to take skin samples and collect evidence and turned the whale over to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association for possible law enforcement action.

“Entanglement in fixed fishing gear is a contributing factor in the decline of humpback whales,” said Cmdr. Laura Dickey, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable.”Fixed fishing gear is required to have detachable links to prevent whale entanglement.”

During the crew’s patrol, boarding teams were able to conduct 75 commercial fishing boat boardings at sea. A boarding of a fishing boat verifies the boat and crew’s compliance with federal safety and fishery regulations. While most boats were in compliance, the cutter’s boarding team discovered an illegal limit of scallops aboard one particular fishing boat. The fishing boat’s voyage was terminated and was escorted back to its homeport in New Bedford, Mass. Another New Bedford scalloper was terminated due to undersized nets. Both cases were turned over to the National Marine Fisheries Service for possible prosecution and fish seizure.

“The crew’s performance in providing a significant enforcement presence and taking action in the North Atlantic displayed the Coast Guard’s continued service in protecting America’s marine species and fishing stock,” said Dickey.

More recently, the crew of the Dependable responded July 14 to a fishing boat crew in distress 60 miles off the coast of Maine. The fishing boat Maria and Dorothy with four people aboard had experienced an engine failure and requested assistance. With less than 100 yards visibility due to fog, the crew of the Dependable towed the fishing boat to its homeport in Portland, Maine.

During the Dependable’s patrol, the crew made port calls in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Boston and Portland, Maine.

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