Steadfast Completes Deployment Supporting Joint Interagency Task Force South
WARRENTON, Ore. — The Coast Guard Reliance-class Cutter Steadfast returned home to Astoria, Ore., April 23 after successfully completing a two-and-a-half month counter-drug deployment in the Eastern Pacific, the service reported in a release.
Patrolling international waters off the coast of Central America, Steadfast’s crew disrupted two narcotics smuggling ventures, leading to the interdiction of more than 700 pounds of cocaine and approximately 170 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of $11 million dollars. The 210-foot cutter deployed in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South with the primary mission of detection and interdiction of illegal narcotics trafficking.
Steadfast’s crew was part of a surge of Coast Guard forces to the drug transit zone off Central and South America to combat transnational organized crime organizations responsible for instability and violence throughout the Western Hemisphere. Since the surge in forces, there has been a significant rise in illicit drug interdictions by the Coast Guard in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific Ocean. Most recently, the Coast Guard set a record for illicit drug removal by stopping more than 443,000 pounds of cocaine in Fiscal Year 2016, which ran from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016.
The crew’s accomplishments were not limited to disrupting the flow of illegal drugs, as it also assisted in the successful resolution of two search and rescue cases. The crew was instrumental in supporting the safe recovery of a vessel found adrift off of the coast of Southern California and worked in conjunction with the Mexican Navy to aid in locating an overdue U.S.-flagged sailing vessel.
Steadfast’s crew also participated in a community relations event in Mazatlan, Mexico, by assisting the Emiliano Zapata School in a major refurbishment and reconstruction project. In coordination with the U.S. Consulate Hermosillo, the U.S. Northern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program, Mexican Social Services and the Mexican Navy, the crew procured supplies and equipment for the school valued at more than $2,500. Working side by side with members of the U.S. Consulate, parents and teachers, the crew repainted and repaired classrooms and the exterior of the school, enhancing the learning environment for the students and strengthening international partnerships.
The 49-year-old Steadfast has been homeported in Astoria since 1994.