By MC2 Michael Hendricks
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs
Two Cyclone-class patrol coastal ships USS Zephyr (PC 8) and USS Shamal (PC 13) return to Mayport from 64 day patrols in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Jan. 17.
Marking the completion of the ship's first deployment in fiscal year 2017, Zephyr's patrol resulted in one interdiction entailing the seizure of 900 kilograms of cocaine and detaining four personnel in support of Operation MARTILLO.
"The professionalism and seamless interaction between the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy during the go-fast interdiction lead to the successful confiscation of over $30 million worth of cocaine," said USS Zephyr Commanding Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Cameron Ingram. "Such a strong presence in the Caribbean is vital in building partnering nation cooperation and homeland security. I am proud of my crew and their execution of this critical mission."
Operation MARTILLO is a joint, international law enforcement and military operation involving U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nations, targets illicit trafficking routes in the waters off Central America. U.S. Navy forces support the Joint Interagency Task Force-South-led operation in the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific through available air and surface assets.
Three patrol crafts, including Zephyr and Shamal, have been outfitted with advanced capabilities including a U.S. Coast Guard Over the Horizon-Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (OTH-RHIB), which allows U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement personnel to travel a greater distance from the ship utilizing their own radar to conduct counter-illicit trafficking operations.
Zephyr and Shamal deployed to conduct counter illicit trafficking operations in support of the operation. Shamal, Zephyr, and USS Tornado (PC 14) are home ported in Mayport and deploy regularly to the 4th Fleet AOR.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
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