Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant Returning Home from 53 Day Patrol

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – The Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant will return to Port Canaveral Monday 8:30 a.m. after a 53 day deployment.

Vigilant’s crew spent more than seven weeks conducting homeland security, law enforcement and search and rescue missions in the Gulf of Mexico working with Coast Guard Sectors Mobile, New Orleans, and Galveston-Houston and their stations and patrol boat crews while on patrol.

While on deployment, Vigilant spent much of it’s time enforcing commercial fishing regulations in the northern Gulf of Mexico along the Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas coastlines.

Vigilant boarding teams conducted more than 35 boardings, enforcing living marine resource (LMR) regulations and federal commercial fishing vessel safety regulations. Vigilant’s boarding teams issued 17 violations for fishing vessels failing to comply with federal regulations and more than 140 safety discrepancy violations for improper or lacking safety equipment. The violations of three of the vessels were so egregious that their voyages were terminated, requiring those vessels to be escorted back to port for further legal action.

“Our law enforcement teams received tailored training from the Gulf Regional Fisheries Training Center just prior to departing on patrol. This dedicated training was key to the successes we had while enforcing fisheries laws. Additionally, there is still much concern over safety regulation conformance within the fishing fleet, and our boarding teams were able to continue educating commercial fishing captains and crew on the expected standards and importance of carrying this equipment,” said Cmdr. Mike Mohn, commanding officer of the Vigilant.

While patrolling the waters off the coast of Louisiana, Vigilant provided a security presence for the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), a critical deep-water offload point for mega-tankers carrying crude oil from overseas. In addition, Vigilant ensured the security of the approaches to the Mississippi River and nearly half of the 3,900 oil and gas rigs of the Gulf of Mexico.

Vigilant was also part of a coordinated multi-national boarding of the freighter Apisara Naree, which was suspected of carrying an illegal cargo of narcotics. Vigilant, the Coast Guard Cutter Forward, and a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) team embarked aboard the British Royal Navy frigate H.M.S. Portland searched the Apisara Naree for illegal narcotics and subsequently cleared it to proceed to port.

Saving lives at sea is one of the oldest missions of the Coast Guard, and as such Vigilant’s crew is always ready for any mission change. Twice during this deployment Vigilant was diverted from law enforcement operations to respond to search and rescue cases. Vigilant also rescued five Cuban migrants that were attempting to illegally immigrate to Mexico. The migrants were found after nine days adrift in the central Gulf of Mexico by a U.S. flagged fishing vessel after their engine failed. Once aboard, Vigilant cared for the migrants for several days before transferring them to another Coast Guard unit for repatriation to Cuba.

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