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Coast Guard Cutter Spencer returns to Boston following 90-day patrol

by U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast 10 May 12:05 UTC
The Coast Guard Cutter Spencer (WMEC-905) crew moors at Port Everglades, Florida, April 28, 2019. The cutter Spencer crew arrived after an 80-day patrol to participate in the 29th Annual Fleet Week in South Florida. © Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray / U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter, returned to Boston Wednesday after a 90-day patrol conducting drug and alien migrant interdiction operations while simultaneously responding to search and rescue efforts in the Caribbean Sea.

While patrolling the Caribbean Sea, Spencer responded to a search and rescue case where a pleasure craft approximately 20 miles northwest of Haiti experienced an engineering casualty and was left drifting in the water. Delayed due to weather and safety concerns, Spencer's small boat was able to take the vessel in tow and bring the nine occupants of the vessel safely to shore.

During the second half of the patrol, Spencer came upon a 25-foot recreational vessel approximately 35 miles northeast of Isla de Tortue, Haiti. After launching the cutter's small boat crew, the vessel was found to be overloaded with 33 migrants attempting to gain illegal entry into another country. The migrants were transferred onboard Spencer and a search of the area and vessel yielded six small packages of marijuana and four small packages that tested positive for amphetamines. Two days later, the migrants were repatriated to local Haitian authorities.

Haitian migrants often use dangerously overloaded and ill-equipped vessels that frequently capsize or run aground on their illegal migrations, leading to loss of life. In order to curtail this, Spencer's 90-day patrol included numerous queries of Haitian sail freighters, deterring Haitian migration off the Northern coast of Haiti, and developing professional relationships with the Haitian Coast Guard and the State Department. These efforts work in coordination to ensure that Haitians are aware of the dangers present prior to their illegal ventures and that the United States Coast Guard will tolerate neither illegal migration nor drug smuggling.

At the end of patrol, Spencer was fortunate enough to participate in the Port Everglades Fleet Week hosted by Broward Navy Days. Over the course of Fleet Week, Spencer's crew was not only able to interact with fellow seagoing service members, but also participate in multiple community service events with Children's Hospitals, Veterans Homes, and the American Legion. The opportunity to be involved in such an outstanding event allowed Spencer to positively represent the United States Coast Guard and was thoroughly enjoyed by the entire crew.

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