We’ve talked a lot in the past on the humble yet dependable 210-foot Reliance-class gunboats/patrol craft (WPG/WPC) that, completed in the 1960s, still regularly hold the line for the Coast Guard as “medium endurance cutters” (WMEC).
Designed to replace the 125-foot Prohibition-era “Buck and a Quarters” and salve the looming block obsolescence of the remaining 255-foot Owasco-class and 311-foot Barnegat-class cutters (converted seaplane tenders) from World War II, the 210s hit the fleet with a large heli deck and a CODAG engineering suite, both new things at the time.
While two of the 16 (Courageous and Durable) have been disposed of– albeit still operating with the Sri Lanka and Colombian Navies— the other 14 Reliance-class cutters will continue to serve until the (now delayed) 350-foot Offshore Patrol Cutter reaches the fleet sometime in the next several years.
No less than four of those 14 returned from lengthy patrol deployments this last week, while a fifth is still underway off the coast of South America:
The crew of the USCGC Vigilant (WMEC 617) returned to their homeport in Cape Canaveral, Saturday following a 48-day patrol in the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Straits.
In support of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, Vigilant conducted search and rescue missions for Hurricane Ian off the Coast of Fort Lauderdale, and migrant interdiction operations in the South Florida Straits, working with multiple Coast Guard and joint interagency assets to detect, deter, and intercept unsafe and illegal maritime ventures bound for the United States.
During the patrol, Vigilant’s crew interdicted 11 overloaded and unseaworthy vessels carrying 146 Cuban nationals. In one case, Vigilant’s crew rescued 14 adults and one child who were at sea for six days without food and water. The migrants had been surviving on cooling water from the vessel’s engine. Vigilant’s crew provided critical first aid, food, and water.
In another case, Vigilant’s crew rescued 27 migrants from a sinking vessel during high winds and heavy seas. Overall, Vigilant’s crew cared for 833 Cuban migrants interdicted by various Coast Guard and other Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast law enforcement entities working within the Florida Straits.
The crew of the USCGC Dependable (WMEC 626) returned to their homeport in Virginia Beach, Saturday, following a 29-day patrol in the Florida Straits.
In support of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, Dependable’s crew conducted migrant interdiction operations, collaborating with numerous Coast Guard assets and Department of Homeland Security boats and aircraft to detect, deter, and intercept unsafe and illegal ventures bound for the United States.
During the patrol, Dependable’s crew assisted with the interdiction of 193 migrants and cared for a total of 297 migrants that were interdicted by various Coast Guard and other law enforcement entities working within the Florida Straits.
The Coast Guard Cutter Active (WMEC 618) and crew returned to their homeport Friday after a 65-day patrol in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean near Central and South America.
During this patrol, the Active’s crew rendezvoused with Coast Guard Cutters Steadfast (WMEC 623) and Bertholf (WMSL 750) to conduct joint operations. Active’s crew also partnered with maritime patrol aircrews from Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) who aid in the detection of ships suspected of drug smuggling.
Crewmembers aboard Active transited more than 10,000 nautical miles from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the southern hemisphere during the patrol. The crew sighted an abundance of marine wildlife throughout the patrol and rescued sea turtles trapped in fishing gear.
The Active’s crew departed Port Angeles on September 1 and transited to San Diego for a logistics stop. While in San Diego, the crew completed unscheduled repairs, enabling the Active to continue its southbound journey along the coast of Mexico and Central America in pursuit of illegal drug smuggling vessels.
The crew of USCGC Reliance (WMEC 615) returned to their homeport in Pensacola Friday, following a 67-day Caribbean Sea patrol.
During the patrol, Reliance’s crew collaborated with numerous Coast Guard assets and other Department of Homeland Security boats and aircraft to detect, deter, and intercept unsafe and illegal ventures to the United States.
In support of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, Reliance primarily patrolled the South Florida Straits, south of the Florida Keys, and the Windward passage, off the northwest coast of Haiti, contributing to the interdiction and care of 613 migrants and 13 detainees. Additionally, Reliance’s crew repatriated 120 migrants to Santiago, Cuba, marking the first visit by a U.S. warship to the port in more than 50 years.