PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa returned Sunday to their homeport in Portsmouth after intercepting the sale of drugs in the Eastern Pacific.
The crew successfully completed the counter-narcotics mission. They interdicted four vessels carrying an estimated $154 million dollars worth of cocaine.
During the 80-day mission, the crew also detained 12 suspected drug smugglers, boarded three additional vessels, and responded to one search and rescue case.
The Cutter began the patrol by boarding an armed helicopter crew from the Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron in Mayport, Florida. Together they were able to increase the Coast Guard’s ability to detect and stop vessels suspected of drug smuggling.
“I am humbled and very proud of what our crew has accomplished during this patrol,” said Cmdr. Michael Cilenti, commanding officer of the Tampa. “Just keeping our 36-year old ship operating is a full-time job, and our crew not only did that but safely and professionally executed our counter-drug mission.”
The crew will now prepare for the biennial Tailored Ship’s Training Availability, a several week program designed to train the crew and assess the readiness of the Cutter through a variety of drills.