Coast Guard Cutter Thetis returns to Key West after 3 month Africa Patrol

Petty Officer 1st Class Joel Gibney, a machinery technician aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis (WMEC-910), hugs his family Thursday, May 23, 2019 as the cutter pulls into Key West, Florida following a three month deployment in support of U.S. Africa Command. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally

Petty Officer 1st Class Joel Gibney hugs his family Thursday, May 23, 2019 as the cutter pulls into Key West, Florida following a three month deployment in support of U.S. Africa Command. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally

KEY WEST, Fla. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis (WMEC-910) returned to their homeport in Key West, Florida, Thursday after a three-month U.S. Africa Command patrol.

The Thetis crew concluded their patrol, in which they conducted multiple joint law enforcement exercises and operations with West African countries with U.S. Africa Command and U.S. 6th Fleet to maintain and strengthen international partnerships, and maritime security.

“By conducting joint maritime law enforcement operations, we were able to establish best practices providing the West African navies and coast guards with the tools to enforce their laws and secure their maritime borders,” said Cmdr. Randall Chong, commanding officer of the cutter Thetis. “The U.S. Coast Guard’s involvement in the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership has had a positive impact on the region and I am proud of all the hard work my crew has put into this mission.”

Members of the cutter Thetis and U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team South worked to build, strengthen and maintain relationships with the African nations of Cabo Verde, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, São Tomé and Príncipe, Togo and Benin. Together, they conducted joint maritime safety, security and law enforcement training and missions in support of Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership 2019 operations.

While at sea, the crew conducted joint fisheries and law enforcement boardings with Nigerian Navy and Cabo Verde Coast Guard law enforcement teams. The Thetis crew saved the lives of two men, who were lost at sea for three days and safely transferred them to the Sierra Leone maritime authority. The crew also rescued two loggerhead sea turtles that were entangled in fishing nets in the Gulf of Guinea.

The crew of the Thetis is the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to support U.S. 6th Fleet and deploy to U.S. Africa Command since 2012.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security, and stability in Europe and Africa.

The Thetis is a multi-mission 270-foot medium endurance cutter whose missions include illegal drug and migrant interdiction, as well as search and rescue. The Thetis patrols throughout the Caribbean basin, Eastern Pacific and Atlantic seaboard to ensure the safety of life at sea and enforce international and domestic laws.

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