Kodiak-based Coast Guard Cutter returns home after South Pacific patrol

KODIAK, Alaska – The crew of the 282-foot Medium Endurance Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley returned to their homeport of Kodiak Tuesday after an 80 day deployment to the South Pacific.

The Alex Haley was in Honolulu to complete the annual Tailored Ship Training Availability which measures the crew’s skills and ability to conduct Coast Guard missions. The cutter crew performed admirably and completed the majority of their drills satisfactorily the first time through. They also completed necessary repairs to the ship’s water tanks.

While on patrol in the South Pacific the crew of the cutter was involved in the rescue of 28 survivors of a shipboard fire and the subsequent sinking of the Taiwanese fishing vessel Hou Chun 11 900 miles southwest of Honolulu Feb. 9. All 28 crew were rescued and delivered safely to Christmas Island, Kiribati. The cutter’s expert medical team assisted two badly burned crewmen who were further medevaced by Coast Guard C-130 from Kiribati to Honolulu.

While transiting back from Honolulu to Kodiak the cutter’s medical staff was again called upon to treat a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries observer for hand injuries sustained when a line parted aboard the 82-foot longline fishing vessel Pacific Star Feb. 18.

The Alex Haley was originally a Navy salvage and rescue ship and was recommissioned for Coast Guard duty on July 10, 1999. The Alex Haley’s primary missions are: homeland security, search and rescue, and international and domestic fisheries enforcement. It is known as the “Bulldog of the Bering”.

The cutter was named after the Coast Guard’s first Chief Journalist Alex Haley, the first African-American ever to reach the rank of chief petty officer. Haley is well known as the author of “Roots: The Saga of an American Family”.

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