Cutter Saves Lives

Tuesday, August 02, 2005
The Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless (WMEC-624) will arrive back in its homeport of Galveston, Wednesday morning. The cutter traveled more than 7,500 miles during a 49-day law enforcement patrol in the Caribbean Sea and the Straits of Florida. While patrolling off the coast of Key West, Fla, on July 13, the crew of the Dauntless rescued 16 Cuban migrants, who were packed onto a 20-foot open raft with a disabled engine. The Carnival Cruise Liner Imagination was first to discover the stranded migrants and immediately contacted the Coast Guard for assistance. At sunset the Dauntless arrived on scene and safely recovered the migrants. After caring and treating some of the migrants for dehydration and malnourishment, Dauntless transferred them to another U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat. The migrants were eventually repatriated to Cuba. On the evening of July 20, the Dauntless crew battled six-foot seas to rescue 104 Haitian migrants who were apparently headed for the Bahamas. The Dauntless crew safely transferred the migrants from their overcrowded 39-foot wooden sailboat that was taking on water. Once onboard the Dauntless , the migrants were fed, clothed and provided medical attention. Two days later, the Dauntless anchored off the coast of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, and the rescued migrants were transferred to the Haitian Garde-Côtes (Haitian Coast Guard). Overhearing a distress call on the radio, the Dauntless diverted from patrol to rescue two crewmembers of the motor boat Absolutely Knot , who were transiting from Miami to Kingston, Jamaica. The boat's engine had failed halfway through their journey. The Dauntless towed the Absolutely Knot 50 miles to Great Inagua, Bahamas, where the Bahamian Defense Force met Dauntless to render further assistance to the crewmembers. During its patrol the Dauntless conducted vessel safety boardings on four U.S.- flagged sailboats, and multiple flight operations and training with Coast Guard aircraft deployed in the region. The crew also conducted training in damage control, gunnery exercises and navigation. The Dauntless crew also enjoyed port of calls in the Dominican Republic, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Key West. "The Dauntless , along with other Coast Guard cutters, is continuing to fill a vital role for the Department of Homeland Security by conducting counter drug missions, preventing illegal immigration, and continuing search and rescue missions off the coast of the United States, in the Caribbean Sea and worldwide," said Cmdr. Scott Decker, Commanding Officer of the Dauntless . "The crew and I are excited about arriving home and spending some well-earned time with our families before departing on our next patrol," said Decker.

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