Northland Returns Home from Operation Liberty Shield

Friday, April 11, 2003
The Coast Guard Cutter Northland is scheduled to return to its homeport today at 10 a.m. following a 63-day homeland security patrol for Operation Liberty Shield off the Virginia coast. Northland led a maritime security squadron (MSS) guarding the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. At times, Northland coordinated the patrol efforts of two U.S. Navy Coastal Patrol Boats and many fixed winged and rotary aircraft. Northland coordinated this multi-asset patrol effort to increase maritime domain awareness and monitor shipping traffic for threats to America and the ports and waterways from Hampton Roads, Va., to Baltimore. When the homeland security advisory system was changed to level orange, the Northland and Navy patrol boats went to work patrolling the coast to support the captain of the port for Hampton Roads and to strictly enforce the 96-hour advance notice of arrival regulation. One highlight of the patrol for the crew was to host a film crew from NBC’s Today Show Feb. 20-21. The show’s theme was 24-hours with the Coast Guard, featuring the Northland representing the at-sea effort of the Coast Guard for Operation Liberty Shield, and serving as a platform for the following morning’s live broadcast. The entire process of boarding a vessel, from the initial questioning, to briefing the boarding team, to the actual boarding was filmed and later edited throughout the night by the NBC production crew. The morning of February 21 found Northland drifting in calm seas in close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel as Vice Admiral James Hull, Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, was welcomed onboard for a live interview with Soledad O’ Brien of the Today Show. Both his interview and the video footage obtained from the previous evening were successfully broadcasted from the Northland across the United States. Northland also participated briefly in Operation Bold Compliance, the living marine resources initiative for the Mid-Atlantic States, by boarding fishing vessels and ensuring compliance with federal fisheries regulations. Northland boarded two fishing vessels and documented one vessel trawling for flounder without the required turtle excluder devices. Homeported in Portsmouth, the Northland is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter and is commanded by Cmdr. Andrew White.

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