The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Steadfast returned to homeport in Astoria on Sept. 15. During a two-month counternarcotics patrol off the West Coast, the Steadfast intercepted several vessels smuggling cocaine and delivered wheelchairs to a shelter According to the Coast Guard, the 210-foot cutter intercepted more than 4,800 pounds of cocaine with a street value of more than $71 million. Steadfast boarding teams interdicted two fishing boats and one go-fast boat carrying contraband on board. In one case, team members boarded a vessel and meticulously accounted for every storage space over the course of six days. They eventually discovered a hidden compartment containing more than 1,800 pounds of cocaine. In a joint operation with the Guatemalan Naval Special Forces, Steadfast crew boarded a Guatemalan fishing vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics. The operation, part of a Coast Guard strategy focused on international cooperation, netted an additional 1,800 pounds of cocaine.
While on patrol, Steadfast crew stopped in Puerto Vallarta and Tapachula, Mexico, on community relations events.
In Puerto Vallarta, 30 crew and members of the Navy League of the United States painted living spaces, planted a garden and cleaned up around the Puerto Vallarta Chapter at Corazon de Nina, a shelter for at-risk children in the state of Jalisco. Children at the shelter also got to tour the Steadfast.
With the U.S. Embassy Mexico City’s Office of Defense Cooperation and U.S. Northern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program, Steadfast crew members improved dormitory spaces at a cancer shelter run by the Mexican National System for Integral Family Development in Tapachula. The regional hospital treats patients who travel to the facility from the states of Chiapas and Tabasco.
Steadfast crew members also assembled and delivered 25 wheelchairs purchased by U.S. Northern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program for patients the shelter.
In total, the cutter traveled 10,000 miles in 62 days, its crew earning more than 100 at-sea qualifications. A Reliance-class cutter, the Steadfast has been homeported in Astoria since January 1994.