Steadfast crew returns from summer patrol

ASTORIA, Ore. – The Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast returned home here Tuesday after a successful 41-day multi-mission deployment, patrolling more than 4,000 nautical miles and conducting 22 at-sea boardings of commercial fishing vessels.

Enforcing the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act, as well as federal and state fisheries regulations, the crew terminated one fishing vessel with a survival craft more than five months expired and conducted four rescue cases, escorting two of the vessels back to homeport.

The crew’s most significant rescue case was the response to the fishing vessel Mary L. The 38-foot double-ender had a loose plank and 1.5 tons of ice in its aft hold and was taking on approximately 300 gallons of water per hour. The ice in the hold was melting faster than the aft bilge pump could dewater.

Steadfast sent over boarding team members Petty Officer Timothy Coffey, Petty Officer Andrew Illyn, Seaman Kyle O’Connell, and Petty Officer Dustin March and Rescue and Assistance Team Petty Officer Douglas Knight, Petty Officer Erik Romani, and Petty Officer Joshua Alton. The rescue team excavated a 36-cubic-foot hole in the vessel’s ice hold, and rigged a P-6 dewatering pump, conducting dewatering operations for eight hours before the vessel was turned over to Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, in Ilwaco, Wash., and returned to homeport safely.

Also during this patrol, Steadfast underwent flight standardization (STAN) training, conducting more than 45 day and night evolutions to re-certify the ship and its crew.

After the completion of the patrol and STAN, the crew represented the Coast Guard in the 2008 Seattle Sea Fair. Similar to the partnership in education efforts Steadfast participates in with Lewis and Clark Elementary School here, the crew hosted 100 guests during a parade of ships in Elliot Bay, demonstrated various pieces of equipment and educated guests on the numerous missions and accomplishments of the Coast Guard. Throughout the week, crewmembers gave tours to more than 600 people and participated in numerous local events.

Steadfast’s crew will be actively engaged in the Astoria Regatta participating in multiple events. Throughout the month of August crewmembers will prepare for their next deployment and open the cutter for tours on Sundays at the 17th St Pier here.

The Steadfast is a Reliance Class cutter, one of 14 in the Coast Guard fleet and one of only three based on the West Coast. It was commissioned in 1968 and has been home-ported in Astoria since January 1994. The cutter earned the nickname “El Tiburon Blanco,” or “White Shark,” from drug smugglers while based in St. Petersburg, Fla., for its notoriously effective law enforcement operations in the Caribbean. It was the first cutter to be awarded the gold marijuana leaf, indicating one million pounds of marijuana seized.

For more information on the open tours during the Astoria Regatta contact (503) 325-6812.

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