U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC 902) and crew returned home Tuesday, following a 77-day maritime safety and security patrol in the Florida Straits.

Tampa deployed in support of Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast (HSTF-SE) and Operation Vigilant Sentry (OVS), patrolling within the Coast Guard Seventh District’s area of responsibility. While underway, Tampa’s crew performed as Commander Task Unit (CTU) for operations in and around the Florida Straits, coordinating with other Coast Guard units to detect, deter, and intercept unsafe and illegal maritime migration ventures bound for the United States.

While at sea, Tampa’s crew interdicted one vessel with two Cuban migrants aboard, attempting to reach the U.S. through dangerous and unlawful channels. In total, Tampa’s crew also contributed to the interdiction of 207 migrants throughout the patrol.

While deployed, the crew also celebrated the cutter’s 40th birthday. Tampa commissioned on Dec. 12, 1982.

“CGC Tampa has gracefully completed a multitude of missions throughout her 40 years of service,” said Cmdr. Walter Krolman, commanding officer of Tampa. “From mass migration rescues to participating in multi-nation military exercises and conducting counterdrug operations, Tampa continues to prove her motto, “Thy way is the sea, thy path in the great waters.”

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 the Caribbean Sea and the Florida Straits. HSTF-SE continues enhanced enforcement efforts in support of OVS, the 2004 DHS-developed plan to respond to irregular 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 counter-narcotics operations, migrant interdiction, living marine resources protection, and search and rescue in support of U.S. Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.