Friday, May 5, 2017

Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma home in Maine

BOSTON —The Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma returned Friday to their homeport of Kittery, Maine, following a 67-day patrol offshore New England waters in support of Coast Guard Operation Atlantic Venture.

The operation focused on safety of life at sea, and enforcement of fisheries laws and regulations on commercial and recreational fishing vessels in the waters between Maine and New Jersey.

The crew also enforced the protection of closed fishing areas and the prevention of overfishing throughout the North Atlantic.

“Tahoma’s crew did an amazing job these last two months battling late winter and early spring weather to help ensure the safety of New England fisherman and the security of our local fisheries resources,” said Cmdr. Timothy Brown, the Tahoma’s commanding officer. “New England fisheries enforcement isn’t the most glamorous of the missions this crew could be assigned, but they performed the mission with great professionalism and resolve.”

During the nine-week patrol, Tahoma’s crew conducted 54 at-sea law enforcement boardings on commercial fishing vessels, from 40-foot lobster boats to 70-foot offshore trawlers. Inspections were conducted to ensure each vessel met all gear requirements, catch limitations were in accordance with their federal fisheries permits, and the vessels had all required safety equipment.

Over the two months at sea, Tahoma’s crew also responded to distress calls from four different fishing vessels in desperate need of assistance.

Tahoma received notification March 6 of the fishing vessel, American Pride, disabled nearly 100 miles offshore. Another Coast Guard asset, the Coast Guard Cutter Bear, was in close proximity to the disabled vessel, so they boarded the vessel and rendered assistance until Tahoma’s crew was in position to tow American Pride safely to Montauk, New York.

Two days later, Tahoma’s crew assisting a different vessel with the same name that was experiencing loss of steering 137 miles offshore. With a temporary steering rig and a diligent escort by Tahoma’s crew, the fishing vessel crew made it safely into Boston Harbor.

Tahoma then responded to a radio distress call March 12 from the fishing vessel, America, after the captain became unconscious and unable to operate the vessel. Because the fishing vessel was 50 miles from land, shore-side assistance was unable to maintain clear communications with America’s crew. Tahoma’s crew immediately diverted to help, relaying radio transmissions between America's crew, Coast Guard Sector Boston watchstanders, and an Air Station Cape Cod air crew. The captain was medevaced from the fishing vessel and transported  ashore for advanced medical care. Tahoma’s crew then escorted America to Boston Harbor ensuring the crew’s safe return to port.

Lastly, March 20, the fishing vessel Gladys Elaine required the assistance of Tahoma’s crew after experiencing a fire aboard their vessel while 120 miles east of Cape Ann. The crew was able to extinguish the fire and Tahoma escorted the vessel to Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire.

When not conducting operations, Tahoma’s crew was heavily immersed in shipboard training, including helicopter operations with Air Station Cape Cod, and tactical law enforcement training for the crew in preparations for the ship’s next counter-drug patrol.

Tahoma is a 270-foot cutter home ported in Kittery, Maine. The vessel and crew execute maritime law enforcement, homeland security, and search and rescue missions in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

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