PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca returned to their homeport in Portsmouth on March 13 after a 42-day Mid-Atlantic patrol, the Coast Guard 5th District said in a March 19 release.
The ship’s law enforcement teams boarded commercial fishing vessels from the coast of New Jersey to Florida in support of the Coast Guard’s mission of protecting vital living marine resources. The Coast Guard Cutter Seneca also partnered with aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to help train and maintain proficiency in shipboard helicopter operations.
The Seneca’s law enforcement teams boarded over 24 U.S.-flagged fishing vessels, ensuring compliance with safety, fisheries and environmental regulations. The Seneca crew also worked with the Coast Guard Cutter Angela McShan and the Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson, two fast-response cutters homeported in Cape May, New Jersey, by conducting joint law enforcement operations and fueling at sea evolutions.
These operations are integral to protecting the $5.6 billion commercial fishing industry, a major economic driver throughout the East Coast, according to the release. Through fisheries enforcement operations, Seneca crews deterred illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing while standing by to answer any calls of distress to members of the commercial fishing industry, which is comprised of more than 39,000 fishermen in the United States.
“This has been a fast-paced and rewarding patrol,” said Cmdr. Matthew Rooney, commanding officer of the Seneca. “The crew did amazing work this patrol. The 30 at-sea boardings promoted safety and let the fishing fleet know the Coast Guard is out here and ready to assist if needed. Their outstanding results and positive attitudes set the standard for Coast Guard operations in the Mid-Atlantic.”
The Seneca is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter with a crew compliment of 14 officers and 86 enlisted personnel. The cutter’s primary missions include search and rescue, living marine resources, illegal drug interdictions, counter narcotics, migrant interdictions, ensuring the safety of life at sea, and enforcing international and domestic maritime laws in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.