The Reliance-class U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC 623, ex WPC-623) returned to homeport last week following a 55-day/11,000-mile counter-narcotics deployment to the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The 54-year-old 210-foot medium endurance cutter and crew conducted law enforcement and search-and-rescue operations in international waters off Central America from Mexico to Costa Rica.
With an embarked MH-65E Dolphin helicopter and aviation detachment from Air Station Port Angeles, Washington, and with additional crew members from the Tactical Law Enforcement Team Pacific, Electronics Support Detachment Detroit, Coast Guard Base Galveston, and three U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets, she got some amazing photo-ex shots while underway.
As noted by the USCG, on her latest deployment:
The crew of the Steadfast also worked with Mexican law enforcement assets on two occasions, to locate, track, and interdict fast-moving drug smuggling vessels, resulting in the seizure of 2,747 kilograms of cocaine by Mexican authorities, valued at $109 million.
While transiting South of Mexico, Steadfast’s bridge team sighted a disabled and adrift open-hull vessel with two Mexican adult males waving life jackets. Steadfast approached the vessel to investigate and determine the nature of distress. The imperiled mariners stated that they were fishermen who had been adrift for 23 days after their vessel had been beset by weather. Steadfast embarked both persons, provided meals and medical care, and returned them safely back to Mexico.
Steadfast is a Reliance Class cutter that has been homeported in Astoria since 1994. Previously, Steadfast was homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida where she earned the nickname “El Tiburon Blanco,” (“White Shark”) from drug smugglers for her notoriety in counter-narcotics operations in the Florida Straits and the Caribbean Sea.
All in all, not too bad looking for a ship that launched in 1967.