USCGC Legare (WMEC 912) returned to their home port in Portsmouth Thursday following a 69-day maritime safety and security patrol in the Florida Straits.

Legare deployed in support of Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast and Operation Vigilant Sentry in the Seventh Coast Guard District’s area of responsibility. While underway, Legare’s crew conducted maritime safety and security missions while working to detect, deter and intercept unsafe and illegal maritime migration ventures bound for the United States.

Legare’s crew interdicted seven different migrant vessels attempting a dangerous and irregular journey to the United States. Legare’s crew processed, cared for and repatriated 116 migrants.

During the patrol, Legare also worked alongside other Coast Guard assets to protect the safety of life at sea, including rescuing a man after his 37-foot sailing vessel became disabled 86 miles off Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

“The officers and crew of Legare performed admirably in what is a very taxing mission of securing our maritime borders while showing compassion and care for migrants who are often in harm’s way on the sea,” said Cmdr. Jeremy Greenwood, Legare’s commanding officer. “Deterring dangerous and irregular migration to the United States by sea is not only a matter of ensuring U.S. border security but also a matter of saving the lives of those who take to the sea without understanding the hazards and perils of that journey. We reiterate our plea to those wishing to come to the United States to do so by official channels, taking to the sea is never the answer.”

Legare is a 270-foot, Famous-class medium endurance cutter. The cutter’s primary missions are counter drug operations, migrant interdiction, enforcement of federal fishery laws and search and rescue in support of U.S. Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The Coast Guard is one component of HSTF-SE, a standing Joint Task Force that integrates the capabilities of local, county, state and federal agencies to effectively respond to maritime migration events. HSTF-SE serves as the DHS lead for operational and tactical planning, command and control, and as a standing organization to deter, mitigate and respond to maritime mass migration in support of Operation Vigilant Sentry, the 2004 DHS plan to respond to irregular maritime migration in the Caribbean Sea and the Florida Straits.