The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC 902) and crew returned to their home port in Portsmouth, Tuesday, after a 67-day patrol in the Florida Straits and Windward Passage.
Tampa deployed in support of Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast and Operation Vigilant Sentry within the Coast Guard Seventh District’s area of responsibility. During the patrol, Tampa’s crew conducted maritime safety and security missions while working with other Coast Guard cutters to detect, deter, and intercept unsafe and illegal maritime migration ventures bound for the United States.
While underway, Tampa’s crew interdicted one migrant vessel attempting a dangerous and unlawful voyage toward the United States. Crew members contributed to the care and repatriation of 429 migrants during the patrol.
“This was a rewarding first patrol as the commanding officer,” said Cmdr. Walter Krolman, commanding officer of Tampa. “To see the officers and crew, experienced and new, come together to complete the mission was amazing. As a team, we conducted drills and exercises and qualified members in new watch stations while meeting operational demands. Tampa controlled surface assets and coordinated air coverage to ensure the security of the southern maritime border. We worked successfully with Coast Guard, state and federal partners to save lives and prevent a mass migration event.”
HSTF-SE serves as the Department of Homeland Security lead for operational and tactical planning, command and control, and acts as a standing organization to interdict illegal maritime migration attempts with federal, state and local partners. HSTF-SE continues enhanced enforcement efforts in support of OVS, the 2004 DHS plan to respond to irregular and unlawful mass maritime migration in the Caribbean Sea and the Florida Straits.
Tampa is a 270-foot, Famous-class medium endurance cutter. The cutter’s primary missions are counterdrug operations, migrant interdiction, enforcement of federal fishery laws and search and rescue in support of U.S. Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.