Cutter Returns to Portsmouth, Va. After Patrol

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Coast Guard Cutter Bear will return to its homeport of Portsmouth after a 62-day patrol in the southern Caribbean. While underway, the crew conducted excercises with the a Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) in Mayport, Fla., where they trained in interdiction tactics. After the training, the crew steamed south to the Caribbean Basin, in an area known for narcotics trafficking. During 25 days of patrol in this area, a newly qualified watchstander on board spotted a small, fast-moving surface contact on the radar. The embarked HITRON helicopter launched and located a 40-ft. go-fast boat laden with narcotics and extra fuel drums. Before use-of-force tactics could be authorized, the go-fast headed back into territorial seas. While patroling off the coast of Colombia the crew conducted a joint boarding with a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) on board the Dutch frigate Van Nes. The boarding team embarked a freighter suspected of smuggling narcotics. While the crews did not find any narcotics on the ship, the joint boarding provided the opportunity conduct a professional exchange of crew members from the two countries.
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