Coast Guard Cutter Spencer returned home to its homeport in Boston on Monday about 3,000 lbs. heavier.
During its 74-day counter-drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (via the Panama Canal), the Coast Guard crew seized approximately 1,400 kilograms (3,080 lbs.) of cocaine worth more than $92 million. The drugs were taken from their interdiction of four drug-laden vessels. They further apprehended 13 suspected smugglers with the help of their deployed helicopter crew. Also, the Spencer collaborated with the Costa Rican Coast Guard in the seizure of another fishing vessel smuggling about 2,900 lbs. of marijuana (street value of about $3 million).
“I could not be any more proud of my crew for keeping the drugs off the streets of the United States and ensuring a safer country,” said Cmdr. Peter Niles, commanding officer of the Spencer.
Along with transiting the Panama Canal twice, the crew successfully conducted extensive helicopter training with Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida. The Spencer hosted 13 Coast Guard pilots from three different air stations and 14 personnel from six other cutters. In all, Spencer conducted over 200 helicopter flight deck landings in three days in order to maintain proficiency and hone the pilots’ skills.
The Spencer is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew complement of 15 officers and 74 enlisted personnel. One of its more notable missions included serving as the on-scene command vessel in 1999 after the EgyptAir Flight 990 crash off Nantucket, controlling both U.S. Navy and Coast Guard assets in the search and recovery efforts. That crash, ruled a deliberate action by the first officer by the NTSB, claimed all 217 lives on-board.
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