Coast Guard Cutter Tampa returns from Caribbean Sea patrol

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC 902) returned to their home port in Portsmouth, Wednesday, following an 88-day patrol in the Florida Straits and Caribbean Sea.

Patrolling in support of Operation Vigilant Sentry and Joint Interagency Task Force – South (JIATF-S) in the Seventh Coast Guard District’s area of responsibility, Tampa’s crew worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, federal agents from throughout the U.S., partner nations in the Caribbean Sea and the Royal Netherlands Navy conducting maritime safety and security missions to detect, deter, and intercept unsafe and illegal migrant ventures as well as drug trafficking voyages bound for the United States.

During the patrol, Tampa’s crew contributed to the interdiction, care, and repatriation of 428 migrants from Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Additionally, Tampa and its embarked MH-65E Dolphin helicopter crew collaborated with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to detect and intercept two suspected drug smuggling vessels, leading to the arrest of six suspects, possession of the vessels and a seizure of $100,000.

While moored in Cartagena, Colombia, Tampa’s crew hosted a United States congressional delegation, working with JIATF-S to present information regarding the various methods transnational criminal organizations use to traffic drugs from South America to the United States and how Tampa and other interagency assets achieve at-sea interdictions. Furthermore, Tampa leveraged the time in Colombia to enhance partnerships with the Colombian Navy and the Colombian Coast Guard, boosting maritime security within the Americas.

“This is my last patrol on Tampa, and once again, this crew impressed with exceptional teamwork and superb dedication across a wide variety of missions,” said Cmdr. Sky Holm, commanding officer of Tampa. “They persevered to keep themselves and this 39-year-old asset in the highest state of readiness while thoughtfully caring for each other in the process. I am extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to serve with them these past two years. Additionally, I want to acknowledge all our loved ones ashore, who provide us strength while we are deployed – we could not accomplish our mission without their support!”

Tampa is a 270-foot, Famous-class medium endurance cutter. The cutter’s primary missions are counter-narcotics operations, migrant interdiction, living marine resources protection, and search and rescue in support of U.S. Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

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