Coast Guard Cutter Spencer returns home after a 33-day patrol. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer returned to its homeport of Portsmouth, Va., Nov. 10. During the patrol, the crew conducted operations south of Key West, Fla., supporting efforts to deter illegal immigration and conduct safety-of-life at sea operations. Shifting gears halfway through the patrol, Coast Guard Cutter Spencer’s crew exercised their multi-mission capability in the Northeast to enforce federal commercial fishing regulations in an effort to deter over-fishing and illegal fishing. The crew also assisted in multiple search and rescue cases off the coast of New England, towing one vessel over 100 miles to safety. “Overall this was a short patrol but we accomplished a lot for the Coast Guard and for our unit,” said Cmdr. Corey Kerns, commanding officer of the Spencer. “This deployment included an excursion south of the Keys to support the fleet of fast-response cutters. Our mission then shifted to domestic fisheries, enforcing regulations that promote the longevity of this multi-billion dollar industry that our nation depends on. In between, we were able to support three search and rescue operations, conduct a lot of training, and get home before Thanksgiving.” Read more.
17 mariners rescued in two days highlights importance of preparation, partnerships. Over the course of two days, Nov. 10-12, in Alameda, Calif., Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento C-27 Spartan aircrew, partner agencies, and volunteers responding to three maritime emergencies rescued a total of 17 boaters in dire straits off the Alaskan, Californian, and Micronesian coasts. All three cases highlight the importance of mariners properly equipping and training for survival at sea, as well as the value of government and industry partnerships. “The safeguarding of lives at sea, particularly along our coastal waters and in support of our closest international partners, continues to be our highest priority,” said Vice Adm. Michael F. McAllister, commander, Pacific Area. “This week’s impressive rescues demonstrate our resolve to be Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Thanks to the valuable relationships we’ve built with partner agencies, the valuable contributions of good Samaritans, and the focus these mariners had on ensuring they were ready for emergencies at sea, 17 people are alive today who may not otherwise be. This was a fitting tribute on Veteran’s Day yesterday, knowing the Coast Guard veterans who came before us laid the foundation for the incredible work our men and women do today.” Read more.
America’s only heavy icebreaker departs homeport bound for Antarctica. The United States’ only heavy icebreaker departed its homeport of Seattle heading toward Antarctica Nov. 14. Crewed with a crew of 159 U.S. Coast Guard men and women, this year marks Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star’s 25th journey to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze. The operation is an annual joint military mission to resupply the United States Antarctic stations in support of the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program. “Maintaining and operating a 45-year-old ship in the harshest environment on the planet makes for arduous duty, but the women and men aboard Polar Star are committed to our important mission,” said Capt. William Woityra, Polar Star’s commanding officer. “The team is excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a part of the world that most will never get to see.” Through Operation Deep Freeze, the Coast Guard provides direct logistical support to the National Science Foundation and maintains a regional presence that preserves Antarctica as a scientific refuge. Read more.
Coast Guard, partner agencies investigating cause of Southern California pipeline fracture. The Coast Guard is leading a joint investigation, with assistance from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The Coast Guard Commandant designated the oil spill as a major marine casualty. The Pipeline P00547 Spill has been deemed a major marine casualty due to the potential involvement of a vessel and the resulting damages estimated in excess of $500,000. As a major marine casualty, the NTSB is also conducting an investigation and working in coordination with the Coast Guard. Other agencies involved include PHMSA and BSEE. These four agencies are working in conjunction with California Department of Fish and Wildlife.