Cutter Confidence Returns to Homeport After Successful Patrol
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Coast Guard Cutter Confidence crew returned to Port Canaveral, Fla. on June 15 after a 56-day patrol in support of Joint Inter-Agency Task Force South, the Coast Guard said in a June 16 release. During this patrol, the crew conducted operations throughout the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific Ocean and interdicted two smuggling vessels.
Preparing for a long and busy patrol, the crew left Port Canaveral and filled the first five days underway transiting to the Panama Canal with drills and training. These exercises helped familiarize the crew with proper responses to a variety of emergencies. Further, anticipating new and challenging operations, the crew repeatedly practiced tactics to stop fleeing narcotics smugglers and process evidence to ensure successful prosecution after apprehension.
Upon reaching the Panama Canal, the crew completed a historic transit. It was the first time in more than 30 years that the Confidence transited the canal and returned to the Pacific Ocean. This transit was also memorable for most of the crew who were inducted into the “Order of the Ditch,” having completed their first transit through the Canal, the service said.
Arriving safely in the Pacific Ocean, the crew immediately looked toward its mission to stop the smuggling of illicit narcotics bound for the United States by Transnational Criminal Organizations. Initially, the cutter led efforts to turn over three smuggling cases to two partner nation governments for prosecution in their court systems. This directly contributed to increasing partner nations’ ability to stem the flow of illegal drugs to the United States.
The crew then interdicted two suspected smuggling vessels. The successful execution of these two interdictions resulted in the apprehension of six suspected smugglers and seizure of over 3,710 pounds of cocaine, preventing an estimated $56 million worth of drugs from reaching U.S. In addition, the crew transported over 12,500 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value over $185 million between other units in the area to facilitate the prosecution of 24 suspected smugglers.
Confidence’s crew was able to participate in a unique opportunity for sailors in crossing the equator and becoming members of the “Order of the Shellback.”