Coast Guard Cutter Resolute returns home to St. Petersburg, Florida, Saturday, following a successful 56-day Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) and Coast Guard District Seven (D7) Patrol in the Caribbean Sea.
During the patrol, Resolute interdicted multiple suspected smugglers on a go-fast vessel obtaining 279.5 kilograms of cocaine, and rescued 260 Haitian migrants.
Resolute, with the assistance from a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) maritime patrol aircraft, tracked and pursued a drug smuggling vessel for eight hours, culminating in a successful intercept and seizure. The suspected smugglers were detained and later transferred for case disposition in the United States.
Due to increased political instability in Haiti, Resolute’s tasking shifted to Alien Migration Interdiction Operations in the Windward Pass; specifically to overtly patrol and discourage unsafe maritime migration voyages. On Sept. 24, Resolute conducted one of the largest single-unit repatriations into Cap Haitien, Haiti in recent history. Small-boat crews conducted 78 consecutive transfers safely returning all 260 migrants and their personal belongings back to Haitian authorities.
On Sept. 22, Resolute interdicted an overcrowded sail freighter with 183 Haitian migrants including 17 children and infants aboard. Bound for the United States, the 55-foot vessel was dangerously overloaded and lacked sufficient navigation and safety equipment to make the journey. All 183 migrants were transferred safely to the cutter where they were provided food, water, shelter, and medical attention. In less than 24-hours, Resolute received an additional 77 migrants from another Coast Guard asset, raising the total count to 260.
“The migrant interdiction mission is always unique; while the migrants are attempting to escape the poor living conditions in Haiti, their unsafe voyages risk the lives of innocent people, including children,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Wooley, a maritime enforcement specialist. “It is unfortunate to see, but it makes us feel good knowing that we potentially saved 183 people from capsizing and drowning at sea.”
After a long and successful patrol, the crew is eager to return home and spend the holiday season with friends, family and loved ones.
“The crew’s actions during this patrol were heroic and inspiring. I am especially impressed with their professional dexterity and ability to shift from counter-drug operations to humanitarian missions in a moment’s notice, embracing our service motto: Semper Paratus-Always Ready,” said Cmdr. Justin Vanden Heuvel, commanding officer of Resolute.
Resolute is a 210-foot Reliance class cutter and has a crew of 72. Resolute was commissioned on December 8, 1966, and is homeported St. Petersburg, Florida.