Forward crew returns from Africa deployment, Northland returns after 39 day deployment

5th Coast Guard District NewsPORTSMOUTH, Va.- The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward, based in Portsmouth, Va., returned Sunday after a 107-day deployment to western Africa in support of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership mission.

The Forward was the primary operational platform during their deployment for the AMLEP operation with the goal of strengthening global partnerships through training, along with other collaborative activities with African militaries and maritime law enforcement agencies of Africa in an effort to stop and deter illicit transnational maritime activity.

The crew worked with military and maritime enforcement personnel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, and Guinea to conduct 19 fisheries boardings at sea resulting in seven vessel seizures and the issuance of 19 violations totaling $450,000 in potential fines.

“The crew of Forward made our mission a success with each host nation during maritime law enforcement operations and engagements,” said Cmdr. Michael Stewart, Forward commanding officer. “Through steadfast dedication they offered training, cultural knowledge, and fostered relationships that will last. I could not be more proud of the crew for the example they set as Coast Guardsmen and as American ambassadors to our African partners.”

During the four-month deployment the Forward crew transited more than 17,000 nautical miles, visited nine countries and spent nearly 2,000 hours at sea.

In addition to maritime law enforcement training the crew aboard Forward conducted a rating exchange with many of the host nations where Coast Guard members with specialty knowledge in engineering, damage control, electronics, weapons and deck seamanship. The Forward crew demonstrated maintenance and operational procedures on a variety of platforms and equipment to help the African militaries better utilize and care for their assets.

The crew also participated in several community relations projects, where they repainted walls, repaired broken desks, replaced window panes and donated soccer balls at several African schools and an African hospital.

“I enjoyed visiting Gambia the most,” said Seaman Jacob Davis, 19, about his first deployment with the ship. “We also helped paint and restore rooms at a Gambian hospital. Seeing the difference in medical care was a really humbling experience.”

The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Northland also returned from a 39 day deployment after patrolling the waterways throughout the Northeast region of the United States. The crews aboard both cutters conduct a wide range of Coast Guard operations on the multi-mission 270-foot medium-endurance cutter including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, homeland and coastal security and environmental and natural resources protection.

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