Today in Coast Guard History – February 4th

  • 1859- U.S. signs “Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation” with Paraguay at Asuncion after the revenue cutter Harriet Lane, as part of a US Navy expedition, forced the opening of the Paraguay and Parana Rivers.
  • 1863- Commissioned officers of the Revenue Cutter Service were to be appointed by the President by and with advice and consent of the Senate. This act contained the first statutory use of term “Revenue Cutter Service.” Previous laws referred only to “revenue cutters”.
  • 1982- The Attorney General, William Smith, declared at a press conference that Operation Tiburon was “the most successful international marijuana interdiction effort to date.” The operation began in November, 1980, and accounted for the seizure of 95 vessels. It was a combined operation that included elements of the Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Customs Service and various state and local law enforcement agencies.
  • 1999- The 639-foot freighter New Carissa ran aground north of Coos Bay, Oregon. Coast Guard helicopter crews rescued 23 crewmembers but the vessel remained firmly aground and attempts to refloat her failed. A unified command made up of Coast Guard and Navy personnel as well as marine salvors attempted to prevent a catastrophic oil spill as the ship began breaking apart. The team decided to set the oil on board the New Carissa on fire so it would burn away before being spilled and fouling the shore. It was the largest “in situ” burn ever tried in U.S. waters and it consumed a significant amount of the oil aboard the New Carissa. The Coast Guard’s annual report for that year noted: “While some oil did spill out of the vessel, the unified command’s efforts greatly reduced the potential environmental damage to the Oregon coast.” The ship eventually broke in two and her bow section was towed to sea and sunk by the Navy.

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