Coast Guard Cutter Tornado to return home after sucessful 31-day voyage

NEW ORLEANS – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tornado is scheduled to return to their homeport of Pascagoula, Miss., Sunday following a 31-day deployment in the Florida Straits.

While patrolling the Straits, off the coast of the Florida Keys, the crew conducted Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations, helping stop the flow of illegal immigration to the United States. Working with other Coast Guard cutters, aircraft and vessels, the Tornado crew was responsible for the seizure of four vessels and assisted in the seizure of three others, resulting in the interdiction of 11 suspected migrant smugglers.

One notable go-fast pursuit began just outside of Cuban territorial seas and continued north for more than three hours. During the nearly 100-mile chase the go-fast maneuvered dangerously close to several large freighters at high speeds as it crossed busy shipping lanes in the middle of the night.

The go-fast was stopped near the Upper Keys after a Coast Guard pursuit boat successfully disabled one engine. Three people from the vessel were detained and transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for questioning.

The Tornado crew also interdicted 27 undocumented migrants from an assortment of rafts and other vessels. These migrants, in addition to 34 that Tornado received from other Coast Guard assets, were transported to an at-sea holding platform where they received food, water and any necessary medical attention.

Following Tornado’s return home, the cutter will undergo several weeks of maintenance, and the crew will receive training before deploying later this fall.

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