Coast Guard Cutter Tampa returns to Portsmouth after 57-day counter-drug operation


Fireman Lukas Kuehne, a crewmember aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, homeported in Portsmouth, VA., helps move drugs during a contraband transfer aboard the cutter on an unknown date. The cutter crew conducted a 57-day counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations patrol. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/released)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Coast Guard Cutter Tampa returned to homeport in Portsmouth Saturday after a 57-day counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations patrol.

The crew patrolled known drug trafficking areas throughout the Caribbean and while working with other agencies, they were able to stop a vessel carrying about 170 pounds of cocaine worth $1.95 million.

As part of a joint operation with various law enforcement agencies, the crew helped the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon with intercepting two fishing vessels, with 26 alleged smugglers, suspected of engaging in drug trafficking.

“I am exceptionally proud of everything our crew accomplished during this challenging patrol. Through my entire Coast Guard career, this has been one of the most dynamic patrols I have experienced, and I appreciate the resiliency and adaptability of our crew immensely,” said Capt. Michael Cilenti, commanding officer of the Tampa.

“Additionally, Tampa’s exceptional commitment to readiness and individual accountability allowed us to sail healthy, on time, and ready to execute our assigned missions. Of course, Tampa’s operational success would not have been possible without the continuous support and encouragement from our friends and families.

“Their constant support allowed us to operate through the holiday season, focus on mission excellence and continue to serve our country. We could not be more grateful.”

The Tampa crew also conducted migrant interdiction operations missions off the coast of Haiti as part of Operation Southeast Watch.

The crew celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday underway with a traditional meal served by the cutter’s culinary staff.

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