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USCGC Steadfast returns home after 55-day counter narcotics patrol

USCGC Steadfast returns home after 55-day counter narcotics patrol
The crew aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC-623) stands in formation on the ship’s flight deck while underway off the coast of Central America Memorial Day, 2022.
An embarked MH-65D Dolphin helicopter detachment crew from Air Station Port Angeles hovered overhead for the photo in recognition of the day of remembrance.
The USCGC Steadfast returned to Astoria after 55-day counter narcotics patrol.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Brad O’Brien.

ASTORIA, Ore. — The USCGC Steadfast (WMEC-623) returned to homeport in Astoria following a 55-day counter narcotics deployment to the Eastern Pacific Ocean, on Saturday, June 18.

The 210-foot medium endurance cutter and crew covered more than 11,000 miles conducting law enforcement and search and rescue (SAR) operations in international waters off Central America from Mexico to Costa Rica.

The USCGC Steadfast deployed with an MH-65E Dolphin Short-Range Recovery Helicopter and aviation crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, Washington, and with additional Coast Guard members from the Tactical Law Enforcement Team Pacific, Electronics Support Detachment Detroit, Base Galveston, and three Coast Guard Academy cadets.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast also worked with Mexican law enforcement assets on two occasions, to locate, track, and interdict fast-moving drug smuggling vessels, resulting in the seizure of 2,747 kilograms of cocaine by Mexican authorities, valued at $109 million.

USCGC Steadfast returns home after 55-day counter narcotics patrol
The crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC-623) and a boarding team aboard the ships’s deployable smallboat embark two persons who were rescued after reportedly being lost at sea for 23 days.
The Steadfast was deployed for 55 days to conduct a counter-narcotics patrol off the coasts of Mexico and Central America.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kyle Kelsey.

While transiting south of Mexico, Steadfast’s bridge team sighted a disabled and adrift open-hull vessel with two Mexican adult males waving life jackets. Steadfast approached the vessel to investigate and determine the nature of distress. The imperiled mariners stated that they were fishermen who had been adrift for 23 days after their vessel had been beset by weather. Steadfast embarked both persons, provided meals and medical care, and returned them safely back to Mexico.

This was the last patrol for Cmdr. Craig Allen Jr., who has served as the Steadfast’s commanding officer since July 2020.​ A change-of-command ceremony is scheduled to take place on July 22 in front of the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

USCGC Steadfast returns home after 55-day counter narcotics patrol
Members of the command and crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC-623) stand for a photo with two rescued Mexican citizens at a pier in Manzanillo, Mexico, spring of 2022.
The two survivors were reportedly lost at sea for 23 days before the Steadfast crew located them, took them aboard and transported them ashore.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Brad O’Brien.

Steadfast is a 54-year-old Reliance Class cutter that has been homeported in Astoria since 1994. Previously, Steadfast was homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she earned the nickname «El Tiburon Blanco» (‘the White Shark’), from drug smugglers for her notoriety in counter-narcotics operations in the Florida Straits and Caribbean Sea.

-USCG-

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