Coast Guard Cutter Forward returns to Portsmouth

The supermoon shines over Coast Guard Cutter Forward at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth in Portsmouth, Virginia, November 13, 2016. This supermoon was the nearest and brightest supermoon of 2016 and the largest since 1948. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Corinne Zilnicki/Released).

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The 110 crew members of the Coast Guard Cutter Forward returned to Portsmouth after a 52-day patrol in the waters off Southern Florida and the Caribbean Sea.

During the patrol, the crew supported Coast Guard Operations Southeast Watch and Bluehammer by performing Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations in the Windward Pass and Florida Straits.

The crew also provided blankets, sanitary facilities, supervision and 270 meals for 117 Cuban migrants and 10 detained suspected drug smugglers for a 30 days. They also maintained a chain of custody for suspected drug smuggling cases, including 989 pounds of marijuana and a representative sample of 10 kilograms of cocaine.

The crew also rescued a stranded Cuban fisherman who ran out of food, drinking water and fuel. Members of Cutter Forward’s rescue and assistance team brought the mariner supplies and ensured his vessel’s engine was working, ultimately saving the fisherman’s life. The crew escorted the man and his fishing boat back to Cuban waters to the Cuban Coast Guard.