Coast Guard Cutter Forward crew returns to Portsmouth after 52-day patrol

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Forward returned to Portsmouth Saturday after patrolling the waters off Southern Florida and the Caribbean sea.

Coast Guard Cutter Forward is home-ported in Portsmouth with a crew about 110.

“During the patrol, the crew supported Coast Guard Operations Southeast Watch and Bluehammer by performing Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations in the Windward Pass and Florida Straits,” a spokesperson for the Coast Guard said.

The crew provided blankets, sanitary facilities, supervision and 270 meals for 117 Cuban migrants and 10 detained suspected drug smugglers for 30 days.

They also documented suspected drug smuggling cases, including 989 pounds of marijuana and a representative sample of 10 kilograms of cocaine.

The crew also rescued a stranded Cuban fisherman who ran out of food, drinking water and fuel.

“Members of Cutter Forward’s rescue and assistance team brought the mariner supplies and ensured his vessel’s engine was working, ultimately saving the fisherman’s life. The crew escorted the man and his fishing boat back to Cuban waters to the Cuban Coast Guard,” a spokesperson said.

“This has been a tremendously successful patrol throughout the Southern Florida and Caribbean operating area where the crew showcased their proficiency and commitment, while executing the Coast Guard missions of alien migrant operations, counter-narcotic patrols and search and rescue,” said Stephen Adler, Forward’s commanding officer. “The crew’s service and sacrifice in standing the watch at sea over the holiday season is not only a testament to their devotion to their country, but also a reflection of their dedication as a guardian of our shores in the protection of our nation’s interest. We are happy to come home to our friends and families for some rest and relaxation, but also look forward to our next challenge at sea.”