Coast Guard Cutter Spencer partners with Colombian coast guard

Coast Guard District 7 NewsSAN ANDRES ISLAND, COLOMBIA – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Spencer participated in a joint training exercise with the Colombian coast guard during a port visit to San Andres Island Thursday and Friday.

Spencer’s crew conducted a professional exchange with their Colombian counterparts, visiting a Colombian coast guard base and learning how the Colombians conduct counter illicit trafficking operations.

“Strategically, the exercise helped fulfill the 1997 U.S. – Colombia Bilateral Agreement requiring our two countries to engage in technical communications exchanges and exercises to improve our ability to combat illicit trafficking at sea,” said Cmdr. Geoff Gagnier, Spencer’s commanding officer. “More importantly, it strengthened the U.S. Coast Guard’s relationship with its Colombian counterparts as officers, boatcrews, and law enforcement officers of both countries forged new bonds and a greater understanding of how we can work together to interdict illegal drugs on the sea.”

The highlight of the event was a passing exercise, or PASSEX, simulating a joint interception of a go-fast vessel. Spencer’s crew detected the go-fast, which was role played by a Colombian patrol boat, and launched their over-the-horizon boat to intercept. As the go-fast simulated approaching Colombian waters, Spencer’s crew shifted control of the case to the Colombians, who dispatched an interceptor boat. The Colombian crew simulated the use of warning shots and disabling fire before the vessel was stopped. The Colombians then conducted a boarding with Spencer’s law enforcement team.

“Working with the Colombians was an amazing and very rewarding experience,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Chelsea Lee, a crewmember aboard the Spencer. “Being able to form a working relationship with another country will be very beneficial when the time comes for us to work with each other during an actual case.”

Spencer’s crew departed Colombia confident in their ability to successfully interdict a smuggling vessel, and eager to put their training into action.

The cutter Spencer is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Boston.

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  1. Charlene Stedtler says:

    Semper Paratus USCGC Spencer. My eldest son is aboard Matthew Mandle and I am SO PROUD! Fair winds and calm seas throughout your patrol. You will be so missed over the Holidays.

  2. Paul Matulewicz says:

    We are so proud of our Nephew and all of his shipmates for their efforts to be the most professionaly trained enforcers of our safety and wellbeing. These coasties are always at the ready to ensure us all that only the very best that we can muster is at the ready to protect us in all situations that can infiltrate our security.
    Thank you all for being in our service. Semper Pratus.