The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter based out of Key West, Florida, is scheduled to return to homeport Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. following a 59 day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.
During a patrol off the coasts of central and South America, the crew of the Thetis worked in conjunction with multiple countries and partner agencies to slow the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. The unified effort resulted in the interdiction of a suspected drug smuggling vessel transporting approximately 600 kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated wholesale value of $19 million. During the interdiction, the Thetis utilized its embarked armed Coast Guard helicopter to stop the vessel. The contraband was recovered by Colombian authorities as part of a United States and Colombian agreement to combat narcotics traffic flowing through the Caribbean.
“This was an outstanding first patrol for our new shipmates,” said Cmdr. Kathy Felger, commanding officer of the cutter Thetis. “It’s great to watch the crew, new and seasoned, come together through many days of training to execute a drug interdiction case and accomplish so much in the challenging maritime environment.”
During the patrol, the crew recognized Thetis’ 25 years of service. The medium endurance cutter will continue to patrol the Atlantic and Caribbean until it is replaced by the new Offshore Patrol Cutter. The new OPCs will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard's maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests. The OPCs will be an economical multi-mission ship providing boat pursuit, helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners superior to the cutters they replace.
The crew of the Thetis’ crew also made port calls during its two month patrol, stopping in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, and Cartagena, Colombia, where the crew had time to experience different cultures, including watching the World Cup games.