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News and Press Releases

Crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear returns home following 2-month patrol

PORTSMOUTH, Va. ó The crew of the Portsmouth-based Coast Guard cutter Bear returned home Wednesday following a two-month counterdrug patrol in the Caribbean Sea. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma recently took procession of the cutter Bear while the cutter Tahoma is in dry dock for planned maintenance. Bear's patrol highlights include: Voyaging to South America in support of three separate interagency, international operations focused on stemming the flow of illegal drugs into the United States Providing support to the HNLMS Van Amstel, a Royal Netherlands Naval vessel, which seized more than 1,800 pounds of cocaine and transferred the detainees and drugs to the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear Participating in Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Carib Venture and Operation Martillo Rendezvousing with the crew of the 210-foot Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless and transferring a seized shipment of marijuana to the Drug Enforcement Agency in Miami The Coast Guard's counterdrug patrols supported Operation Martillo, an international, interagency, counter-illicit trafficking effort focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies. The Coast Guard Cutter Bear, along with the service's 26 other medium endurance cutters, is slated to be replaced by a new fleet of Offshore Patrol Cutters that will have the endurance to operate more than 50 miles offshore to carry out the Coast Guard's maritime security and safety missions. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interagency interoperability. Its advanced technical features include modern sensors and enhanced surveillance capabilities necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guardís homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.


UCSGC BEAR Change of Command July 2012

PORTSMOUTH, Va. ó Cmdr. Dave W. Ramassini assumed command of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear during a change of command ceremony at Base Portsmouth, here, Friday.

Ramassini relieved Cmdr. William J. Lane, who is transferring to Arlington to serve as the commander of the Coast Guard Personnel Service Center's, enlisted personnel management division.

As the commanding officer of the Bear, Ramassini will oversee the cutterís operations for maritime homeland security missions that include drug and migrant interdiction.

Ramassini reported from the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, one of the Coast Guard's new 418-foot national security cutters homeported in Alameda, Calif., where he served as its executive officer.

ďIt was an awesome privilege to serve as the commanding officer of the Bear," said Lane. "Working side by side with motivated and hard-charging men and women in the daily fight to protect our nation and save mariners in distress on a 30-year-old cutter was both challenging and rewarding. The crew of the Bear exceeded all of my expectations and more than lived up to the reputation of her predecessor."

The 278-foot, medium-endurance cutter Bear was named after the Revenue Cutter Bear, which was built in 1885 and served with distinction until being decommissioned in 1929. Medium-endurance cutters like the Bear are built for multi-week offshore patrols including operations requiring enhanced communications and helicopter and pursuit boat operations, which provide a key capability for homeland security missions at sea.


UCSGC BEAR (WMEC 901) Returns to Homeport

PORTSMOUTH, VA Ė On March 15, 2010, USCGC BEAR (WMEC 901) returns to homeport after a fifty day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.

Under the direction of Coast Guard District Seven and the Joint Inter Agency Task Force Ė South (JIATF-S), CGC BEAR patrolled between Florida and Haiti, and the southern portions of the Caribbean Sea. CGC BEAR was actively engaged in stemming the flow of illegal narcotics smuggling in the Caribbean.

CGC BEAR operated in conjunction with other Coast Guard Cutters, U.S. Navy assets, and the Colombian Coast Guard to deter narcotics smuggling.

On March 4th, CGC BEAR investigated a vessel located 200 nautical miles from land in the Western Caribbean Sea. Upon arriving on-scene, CGC BEARís law enforcement boarding team determined that the vessel was a Colombian fishing boat that had ran out of diesel fuel and had been drifting out at sea for the past six days while the crew was running dangerously low on food and water. CGC BEAR received permission to board the fishing boat under a bilateral agreement with Colombia, and provided food, water, and enough diesel fuel for the fishing boat and its crew of five to make it back to Colombia safely.

The efforts of CGC BEARís crew are part of the Coast Guardís counter-drug strategy to reduce the supply of illicit drugs to the U.S. by denying drug traffickers access to maritime routes in the six-million square mile transit zone. The Coast Guard and its interagency partners have seen significant interdiction successes in the transit zone consisting of the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean, with over 18,919 lbs of marijuana and 85,084 lbs of cocaine being seized or disrupted in 2010 so far.

Coast Guard Cutter BEAR is a 270-feet Medium Endurance Famous Class Cutter homeported in Portsmouth, VA.


UCSGC BEAR (WMEC 901) Returns to Homepot

PORTSMOUTH, VA Ė On November 14, 2009, USCGC BEAR (WMEC 901) returns to homeport after a thirty day patrol in the Straits of Florida and the North Caribbean Sea.

Under the direction of the Seventh Coast Guard District, CGC BEAR patrolled the western and southern portions of the Straits of Florida and was actively engaged in stemming the flow of illegal smuggling from the Caribbean. Throughout the patrol, CGC BEAR was equipped with a HH-65 helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit.

On October 15th, CGC BEAR was diverted to help in the search of a downed Air Force F-16 aircraft off the coast of South Carolina. While on scene CGC BEAR assumed the duties of On Scene Coordinator and safely coordinated search efforts between Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force air assets, as well as numerous Coast Guard surface units searching for the missing pilot. After the completion of 48 searches that resulted in over 165 hours on scene and 8,000 square nautical miles searched, the search was called off with the pilot remaining unfound.

While patrolling in the northern Caribbean on 04 November, CGC BEARís lookout spotted a suspicious 30 foot go-fast vessel with three outboard engines traveling at a high rate of speed between the south coast of Cuba and the north coast of Jamaica. After the go-fast vessel failed to respond to radio calls, CGC BEAR launched its over the horizon (OTH) small boat with a law enforcement boarding team onboard. After a four hour pursuit, the go-fast vessel jettisoned all of its contraband and proceeded towards Cuban territorial waters. Once the go-fast vessel crossed into Cuban territorial waters, CGC BEAR stopped its pursuit and notified the Cuban Border Guard of the vesselís position. After the pursuit, CGC BEAR returned to the jettison position and recovered 45 bales of marijuana, with a total weight of 1,695 lbs and an estimated street value of more than $1.5 million dollars.

The efforts of CGC BEARís crew are part of the Coast Guardís counter-drug strategy to reduce the supply of illicit drugs to the U.S. by denying drug traffickers access to maritime routes in the six-million square mile transit zone. The Coast Guard and its interagency partners have seen significant interdiction successes in the transit zone consisting of the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean, with over 20,760 lbs of marijuana being seized or destroyed in 2009 so far.

Coast Guard Cutter BEAR is a 270-foot Medium Endurance Famous Class Cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia.


UCSGC BEAR (WMEC 901) Returns to Homeport

PORTSMOUTH, VA Ė On May 22, 2009 USCGC BEAR (WMEC 901) returns to her homeport after a 45 day patrol in the Eastern/Central Caribbean Sea and a two week training period in Little Creek, VA.

Under the direction of the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S), BEAR patrolled the Eastern and Central Caribbean Sea and was actively engaged in stemming the flow of illegal narcotics in the Caribbean. Throughout the patrol, BEAR was equipped with an Arial Use of Force (AUF) capable MH-65C HITRON helicopter. Working under the tactical control of the Seventh Coast Guard District and the Joint Interagency Task Force South, BEARís law enforcement team conducted an at-sea boarding of a Venezuelan-flagged fishing vessel 500 miles east of Brazil and located five suspected drug smugglers and 2,380 pounds of cocaine onboard the vessel. The five suspects and cocaine were transferred to Venezuelan authorities for further investigation. BEAR played a critical role in recent positive political relations between the United States and Venezuela. BEAR carried out U.S. policy and served as a unique instrument of national security by protecting our nationís borders from the entry of illegal narcotics.

Later, BEAR participated in a counter narco-terrorist operation with the Jamaican Defense Force and hosted four Jamaican Coast Guard members onboard. BEARís boarding team members cross trained with the Jamaicans on law enforcement tactics and boarding procedures.

Finally, BEAR had great success at Tailored Annual Cutter Training, an intensive two-week period of operational and damage control exercises.


Coast Guard dumps trans fats overboard, without mutiny

The following article is courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot, author Mike Gruss.

September 8, 2008-The stainless-steel deep fryer aboard the Coast Guard cutter Bear has long been a popular fixture for the food service staff and crew alike.

"You don't have much to look forward to on the patrol," said the Bear's executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. David Deuel. "It's a good night's sleep. It's the meals."

Ah, yes. The meals.

On seafood nights, the Pitco deep fryer coated shrimp with a hearty batter. For lunches, it crisped potatoes. For dinners, it fried enough chicken for 100.

Years ago it was a workhorse, sometimes put to use three or four times a week. Now, like an overweight Guardsman, it's slowly being pushed out of service.

Earlier this week, the Coast Guard became the first armed service to stop serving artificial trans fats in its dining areas. Under new regulations, the reliable deep fryer in the Bear's cramped galley might get used once or twice a week. Maybe as little as once every two weeks.

Other armed services are working to phase out trans fats.

The FDA has made it clear: Trans fats are unbelievably delicious. And they will kill you.

Girl Scout cookies are trans fat-free. Starbucks has limited trans fats in baked goods. The Virginia General Assembly has tried to weed out trans fats in schools. A few years ago, the unthinkable happened: California banned trans fats in restaurants. Like, the whole state. Done.

So the Coast Guard must brave the waters of trans-fat-free living.

"Often times during deployments, food equals morale for the crew," reads a Coast Guard release. "Food Service Specialists must learn to adopt healthier cooking techniques without sacrificing food taste or they will most likely face an unsatisfied crew."

On the cutter Bear, the transition started nearly 2-1/2 months ago, when the food service staff quietly prepared dishes without artificial trans fats. Instead of fried chicken, there was baked chicken. On seafood nights the butter sauce was made from a trans-fat free margarine. Fewer fries and hamburgers - the staff hates making burgers anyway.

It hasn't been a challenge. Overall, little has changed. The worst fears - of meals with nothing but rice cakes - have yet to come true.

The biggest switch, said Chief Food Service Specialist Michael Kelly, will be getting rid of prepackaged potato chips like Funyuns, which shouldn't be hard if any of them have actually tasted a Funyun.

"I don't think the crew even notices," he said. And he would hear about it if they did. Kelly wanders among tables three times a day to see how the fare is received.

As we walked through the galley, Kelly pointed out an orangesicle cake that was drool-inducing. It makes the deep fryer easy to forget.

His point was made: Trans fat-free items are not hard to find, they're better for you and the taste is the same. There's no reason for a person not to switch. For other large-scale organizations and restaurants, it's shameful not to drop them as abruptly as the Coast Guard.

I went through my own cupboards, anxious to see what I would have to give up if I wanted to cook like the Coast Guard. It was surprisingly little. The only item was a box of mix for lemon poppy seed muffins. Most major food companies have already rid their products of trans fats.

In Virginia, where more than half the people have one meal or more away from home every day, the problem isn't trying harder to eat something healthy from our own kitchens. But when we're out, it would be a relief to know someone has already scrutinized the labels for us.


USCGC BEAR (WMEC 901) Returns to Homeport

PORTSMOUTH, VA Ė July 31, 2008 - USCGC BEAR (WMEC 901) returned to its homeport after a two month patrol in the Gulf of Mexico.

BEAR, a 270-foot cutter home ported in Portsmouth, VA, patrolled the Gulf of Mexico enforcing commercial fisheries and safety regulations while working for the Eighth Coast Guard District, New Orleans, LA. Throughout the patrol, BEAR boarded 35 vessels and issued 25 fishing violations and 39 safety violations. BEAR deployed with a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Corpus Christi, TX. The HH-65 provides aircrews upgraded radio capabilities, a heads-up-display to enhance night operations and an Electro-optical Sensor System to enhance detection capabilities. The two month patrol included the catch seizure of one fishing vessel and the voyage termination of another for major fisheries regulation infractions.

These enforcement actions and BEARís presence in the Gulf of Mexico will result in continued improvements of fishing vessel safety standards and may result in lives saved in this most demanding industry.

BEAR also exercised her safety of life at sea mission by assisting a disabled sailing vessel. BEAR also provided assistance to a recreational fisherman and participated in on scene repairs that enabled the vesselís safe return to port. While deployed, BEAR made port calls in Pensacola, FL, New Orleans, LA, Galveston, TX, and Miami, FL.


Coast Guard Cutter Bear Changes Command

PORTSMOUTH, Va., - 20 May 2008 - Coast Guard Cmdr. Helen K. Toves will relieve Cmdr. Raymond W. Pulver as Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Cutter Bear in a ceremony aboard the cutter at Coast Guard Integrated Support Command Portsmouth Friday, May 23, at 10:00 a.m. .

Vice Adm. D. Brian Peterman, Commander Coast Guard Atlantic Area and Coast Guard Defense Force East, will preside over the ceremony. Peterman is the operational commander for all Coast Guard activities within the eastern half of the world from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf.

Pulver has served as Bear's commanding officer since August 2006. During his tour, the Bear completed a myriad of maritime homeland security operations including; the termination of two fishing vessel voyages for safety violations, the interdiction of seven Cuban Migrants off the Bahamian coast, the interdiction of a foreign fishing vessel resulting in the seizure of 1,800 pounds of cocaine and arrest of six narcotics smugglers, the first two go-fast interdictions using the Coast Guard's new MH-65C Interdiction Helicopter resulting in the recovery of 3,200 pounds of cocaine and $250,000 of illicit drug proceeds, and seized just under $200 million in pure cocaine.

Upon detachment, Pulver will be assigned to Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, Va., where he will spearhead a reorganization of the Coast Guard's Operational Command structure.

Toves, will become the cutter's fourteenth commanding officer and its first female commanding officer, comes to the Bear from Coast Guard Sector Miami, Fl., where she served as the chief of the logistics department.

Cutter Bear, one of six 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutters based in Portsmouth, Va., the first of thirteen "Famous Class" cutters celebrated its 25th year of service in February.


Coast Guard to Offload 3,200 Pounds of Cocaine

MIAMI -27 Mar 2008- Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Bear are scheduled to offload approximately 3,200 pounds of cocaine, seized during a recent law enforcement patrol, at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Thursday at 10 a.m., marking the second interdiction involving the upgraded MH-65C Dolphin helicopter.

The case began when a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircrew from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., conducting law-enforcement patrols in the Western Caribbean Sea, sighted a suspicious go-fast vessel March 18. When the smugglers knew they had been detected, the go-fast vessel immediately departed the scene at a high rate of speed.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bear dispatched its embarked MH-65C Dolphin helicopter aircrew from the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) in Jacksonville, Fla., to stop the vessel. The Bear also launched one of the cutter's small boats with a law-enforcement team onboard.

The smugglers aboard the go-fast vessel began dumping bales overboard and continued to flee. The HITRON aircrew used warning shots and disabling fire to try and stop the go-fast. While the smugglers and go-fast eventually evaded capture, the Bear's boarding team recovered 50 bales of cocaine with an estimated value of $100 million.

"We are proud to have served on the front line of the U.S. Counter Narco-Terrorism efforts over the past two months, and are pleased to have kept more than 3,200 pounds of pure cocaine off the streets of America," said Cmdr. Raymond W. Pulver, commanding officer of the Cutter Bear. "The opportunity to deploy with the Coast Guard's new aerial Use-of-Force Helicopter, including its first two interdictions, was also very rewarding."

The Helicopter Interdiction Squadron in Jacksonville, Fla., recently began the planned transition from from the use of leased, MH-68 Stingray helicopters to the use of Coast Guard MH-65C Dolphin helicopters. The MH-65C provides aircrews upgraded radio capabilities, a heads-up-display to enhance night operations and an Electro-optical Sensor System to enhance detection capabilities.

The efforts of the Bear's crew are part of the Coast Guard's counter-drug strategy to reduce the supply of drugs to the U.S. by denying drug traffickers access to maritime routes in the 6 million square mile transit zone. The Coast Guard and its interagency partners have seen significant interdiction successes in the transit zone - Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean - in recent years. During 2007, Coast Guard crews seized a record 4.7 billion worth of cocaine.

Coast Guard Cutter Bear is a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.


U.S. COAST GUARD CUTTER BEAR REACHES 25 YEARS OF SERVICE MILESTONE

PORTSMOUTH, VA - 04 Feb 2008 - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bear (WMEC-901), the first of thirteen 270-foot "Famous Class" cutters commissioned during the 1980s, is celebrating its 25th year of service today while patrolling off the coast of Florida.

The keel of the present-day Bear was laid on Aug. 23, 1979, launched on Sept. 25, 1980, and formally commissioned into Coast Guard service on Feb. 4, 1983.

"We are very proud to serve on Bear as she reaches 25 years of distinguished service to the United States," said Cmdr. Wes Pulver, Bear's commanding officer. "The cutter's 25th birthday marks a proud moment in her career, which includes 21 drug busts and response to numerous national emergencies."

Although Bear is now older than 55 percent of her crew, and only three of the ship's 103 crew were in the Coast Guard when she was commissioned in 1983, Bear's history and legacy of service are well known both by the crew and those in the Coast Guard.

Today's Bear is named after one of the most historic ships in Coast Guard history, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear (AG-29), a 199-foot steam-powered barkentine of heavy oak construction completed in Scotland in 1874.

Bear was purchased by the U.S. government in 1884, and a year later was transferred into the Treasury Department's Revenue Marine's Alaskan patrol, conducting 34 patrols in the Bering Sea for more than 40 years. Bear embodied the concept of the multi-mission ship by rescuing shipwrecked mariners, breaking ice, enforcing fisheries laws, carrying mail, making hydrographic surveys, delivering Siberian reindeer to native Alaskans, and serving as a floating territorial courtroom. Between 1886 and 1895, Bear was commanded by a legendary figure in the service's history, Capt. Michael Healy, who received his commission from President Abraham Lincoln and was the first commissioned African-American officer of the United States government.

After being retired by the Revenue Cutter Service in 1928, Bear was used by Richard Byrd as his flagship for two geographical exploring expeditions to Antarctica in the 1930s. Bear was taken back into naval service during World War II and served on the Greenland Patrol as USS Bear (AG 29) until she was again decommissioned in 1944, transferred to the Maritime Commission, and sold.
During its modern-era history, the Bear has added to the list of historical achievements for cutters operating under her namesake.

In 1986 Bear responded to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster by searching more than 1,900 nautical square miles of ocean. In 1989, Bear was the tactical commander for the initial rescue and relief operations on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, following the devastating Hurricane Hugo. During this operation Bear evacuated 139 U.S. citizens, coordinated the evacuation of 100 sick and injured civilians and initiated the national relief response for the more than 50,000 residents on the island.

Bear has responded to two armed hijackings, the most dramatic of which occurred on the 250-foot coastal freighter Madrid in March 1989. Thirty armed hijackers, led by five deserters from the Haitian Army took control of the vessel at gun point. A boarding team from Bear disarmed the hijackers, returned control of the vessel to the master, and freed 15 people, including a small child being held hostage.
In the early 1990s, the cutter participated in operations Able Manner and Uphold Democracy off the coast of Haiti, and Operation Able Vigil assisting in the interdiction of more than 36,000 Cuban migrants in the Florida Straits.

In the summer of 1999, Bear deployed to the Adriatic Sea in support of "Operation Allied Force" and "Operation Noble Anvil," NATO's military campaign against the forces of the former republic of Yugoslavia. Bear served in the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) battle group providing surface surveillance and search and rescue response for the sea combat commander, and force protection for the amphibious ready group operating near Albania. Bear provided combat escort for U.S. Army vessels transporting military cargo between Italy and Albania, well within enemy surface to surface missile range. When hostilities in the Adriatic concluded, Bear entered the Black Sea as the first ever U.S. Coast Guard cutter to participate in Exercise Cooperative Partner, a joint military exercise involving ships and aircraft from the U.S., France, Greece, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, and Georgia. Bear completed the summer by providing training with the Tunisian and Royal Moroccan navies. In all Bear visited and acted as maritime ambassador to nine countries: Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, Gibraltar (U.K.), Morocco, and the Azores (Portugal).

During this 25-year period Bear also made nine cocaine and 12 marijuana seizures resulting in more than $500 million worth of illegal drugs from reaching the shores of the United States.
The 270-foot class of cutters called the "Famous Cutter" class is the newest in the Coast Guard's medium and high endurance deepwater fleet. The 378-foot cutter Hamilton, the lead cutter of the 12 Secretary Class high endurance cutters, was commissioned 1967. The 210-foot cutter Reliance, the lead cutter of the 15 "Reliance Class" medium endurance cutters, was commissioned in 1966.
According to the Bear's commanding officer, his ship's longevity and success are a testament to the Coast Guard's can-do attitude, and a reminder of the need to deliver modern platforms and equipment as soon as possible.

"As the lead ship of the newest class of medium and high endurance deepwater cutters, it also reminds us of the necessity of the Coast Guard's modernization and recapitalization efforts as we continue to serve the American Public into the future," said Pulver.

Like most of the fleet's medium endurance cutters, Bear hadn't received major systems upgrades during its 20-plus years of service. Last year, Bear completed a six-month refurbishment under the Mission Effectiveness Project (MEP), at the Coast Guard Shipyard and Engineering Logistics Center, Curtis Bay, MD
.
The MEP targets the 270-foot, 210-foot and 110-foot cutters. Each vessel undergoes scheduled maintenance availability during which its hull, mechanical and electrical structures and equipment are renovated to ensure efficient and economical operation.

MEP has been successful and cost-effective, but as the fleet continues to age the ultimate solution to addressing the increasing maintenance and sustainability issues is to acquire new platforms as soon as possible, such as the National Security Cutter, the first of which arrives later this year.

Bear departed its homeport of Portsmouth, Va., Tuesday (Jan. 29), and is scheduled to remain underway until late March, continuing the tradition of service and mission execution, where in just the last year she has: conducted counter-drug patrols; interdicted migrants attempting to illegally enter the United States; conducted joint operations with the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, DEA and other Coast Guard units; and supported humanitarian overflight missions following Tropical Storm Noel.


Coast Guard Cutter Bear Returns From Law Enforcement Patrol

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - 06 Dec 2008 - The Coast Guard Cutter Bear is scheduled to return to its homeport here at the U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Support Command in Portsmouth, Friday at 3 p.m., following a six-week law enforcement patrol in the Caribbean Sea and two weeks of annual training at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va.

The Bear's return follows today's announcement in Washington, D.C., by Adm. Thad Allen, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard; John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and Mike Braun, Chief of Operations of the Drug Enforcement Agency, that the Coast Guard seized more than 350,000 pounds of cocaine at sea this year, worth an estimated street value of more than $4.7 billion, surpassing all previous Coast Guard records.

The Commandant and other federal and international partners discussed how successful interdiction efforts are driving smugglers to adopt extreme tactics, including the use of semi-submersibles, liquid cocaine, and indirect and dangerous sea routes.

"The Bear is a great example of the Coast Guard's diverse law enforcement efforts," said Cmdr. Raymond Pulver, Bear's Commanding Officer. Highlights from this most recent patrol include:

"In the past 16 months, the crew has conducted fisheries enforcement in the mid-Atlantic region and interdicted illegal migrants off of the Cuban and Haitian coasts," as well as counter-drug operations, said Pulver.

During a similar patrol over the holidays last year, Bear's crew intercepted a fishing vessel in the Caribbean Sea and after an extensive 16-hour search located and seized 1,800 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $56 million.

The Bear is one of six 270-foot medium endurance cutters based in Portsmouth, Va.


Coast Guard Offloads $57 Million in Cocaine

Jan. 23, 2007

KEY WEST, Fla. - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear offloaded more than 1,800 pounds of cocaine in Key West today after it was seized in the Caribbean Sea last month.

The crew of the Bear detected a vessel on radar December 19 and flew a deployed MH-68 Sting Ray helicopter based out of Jacksonville, Fla., to identify the large fishing vessel. With permission of the flag state coordinated by the Coast Guard's Seventh District Command Center, a boarding team from the Bear conducted an extensive, 16-hour boarding.

Boarding team members discovered the contraband hidden below concrete in the fish hold. With the flag state's authorization, the boarding team detained the crew and vessel pending the outcome of diplomatic discussions regarding where the crewmembers might be prosecuted.

The Bear's Command Chief stated that the seizure reminded each crewmember of their important role as a member of the Department of Homeland Security protecting our borders against maritime threats. "With such tangible results, it's easier for our families to understand the importance of our mission and our absence during the holiday season."

The contraband was offloaded and transferred to federal officers representing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Bear is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, VA.


 

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