Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous returns from 50-day patrol

USCG file photo

CAPE MAY, N.J. — The Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous is scheduled to return to its homeport of Cape May following a 50-day training and fisheries law enforcement patrol in the north Atlantic Ocean Wednesday.

The crew of the Vigorous began its deployment in late September by completing three weeks of training at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. Coast Guard cutters undergo rigorous Tailored Ship’s Training Availability every 18 months to ensure its crews are proficient in operating the cutter and ready to respond to shipboard emergencies. After months of preparation, the crew of the Vigorous was evaluated by a specialized team of experienced Coast Guard and Navy inspectors in the areas of navigation, seamanship, damage control, weapons proficiency, emergency medical treatment and engineering casualty response. The crew successfully completed 118 drills and exercises with an overall average score of 96 percent. The cutter flew a straw broom from its port yardarm signifying a clean sweep, an overwhelming or decisive victory, by earning the Battle “E” Award for operational excellence in all mission areas.

“A cutter is only as good as its crew,” said Capt. Brendan C. McPherson, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous. “Based on the crew’s performance during this challenging training cycle, I’d say the Vigorous is top-notch.”

The Vigorous and its crew then deployed to the North Atlantic for the next four weeks in support of Operation Atlantic Venture, an operation to enhance commercial fishing vessel safety and enforce federal fisheries laws and regulations. The cutter’s crew patrolled multiple fishing areas between the Long Island Sound, the Atlantic Ocean between Connecticut and Long Island, N.Y., and the Gulf of Maine. The crew provided at-sea enforcement of federal regulations to protect valuable fish stocks. The crew of the Vigorous conducted more than 20 boardings of American Maine lobster, blue fin tuna and Atlantic scallop fleet vessels. The crew terminated the voyages of four commercial fishing vessels because they lacked required safety equipment and issued three violations for failing to have required fisheries documentation or licenses aboard. Commercial fishing industry vessels are held to high safety and licensing standards due to the hazards imposed by their work. Commercial fishing continues to be one of the most dangerous occupations in America accounting for more than 500 deaths over the past five years.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that all mariners are safely conducting their work,” said Lt. Adam Disque, the operations officer aboard the Vigorous. “It is our job to enforce these regulations to help prevent the loss of life and property at sea.”

The crew of the Vigorous helped search for a fisherman lost overboard from the fishing vessel Lindsey II off the coast of Gloucester, Mass., Oct 30. The Vigorous joined several cutters and aircraft during an extensive 26-hour search, combating 30 knot winds and 8-foot seas to search more than 800 square miles. Despite their best efforts, the missing fisherman, who was not wearing a life jacket, was never found.

The crew also responded to an automatic distress signal from the 140-foot, Cape May-based fishing vessel, Retriever Nov. 8. Within hours of its activation, the Coast Guard determined that the Retriever was not in distress and the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon was accidentally activated after the boat had been hit broadside by a large wave.

The Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous is a 210-foot medium-endurance cutter, which serves a wide variety of missions including search and rescue, homeland security, maritime law enforcement and commercial fisheries.

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