“Coast Guard cutter patrols near Port-au-Prince, Haiti” –District 7

USCGC NORTHLAND (WMEC-904)

Not uncommon for cutters to be in the area, but, if this is more than just training, that the Hatian government asked the Coast Guard to be there is unusual.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast

Coast Guard cutter patrols near Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Editor’s km Note: Click on images to download high-resolution version.

MIAMI — The Coast Guard diverted one of its major cutters to patrol near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, at the request of the government of Haiti and in close coordination with the U.S. okay Department of State.

USCGC Northland (WMEC 904) was diverted to Haiti as a clear sign of U.S. resolve in support of the Government of Haiti and its people, and to rendezvous with the Haitian Coast Guard for training in the area.

Northland was previously patrolling within the Windward Pass under the direction of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, headquartered in Miami, in support of Operation Vigilant Sentry, a standing maritime law enforcement operation.

“The U.S. Government has a vested interest in regional security throughout the Caribbean Sea and is aware of the ongoing situation of civil unrest and gang violence within Haiti,” said Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District. “The Coast Guard is one part of a whole-of-government approach to assist the Haitian government with security and stability throughout Haiti, especially as it relates to the deterrence and prevention of dangerous, irregular maritime migration.”

The Coast Guard has a longstanding relationship with the Haitian Coast Guard. In January 2010, USCGC Forward (WMEC 911), a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter, was the first U.S. asset to respond and render humanitarian aid and assistance following a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti. In August 2021, the Coast Guard was among the first U.S. agencies to respond with humanitarian aid following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.

In August 2022, USCGC Robert Yered (WPC 1104), a 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter, delivered firefighting equipment sourced as a donation from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to better equip the Haitian firefighting department at Port-au-Prince-Toussaint Louverture International Airport. In September 2022, the Coast Guard’s international training team visited Haiti to facilitate the second of two iterations of small boat operations training with the Haitian Coast Guard to ensure uniform and repeatable training standards for the maintenance and safe operation of the Haitian Coast Guard’s surface fleet.

The Coast Guard continues to patrol the Caribbean Sea to deter undocumented migration by sea. In fiscal year 2022, the Coast Guard interdicted 7,173 Haitian migrants attempting to enter the United States illegally by sea.

Northland is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia. Northland’s missions include law enforcement, search and rescue, drug interdiction, fisheries enforcement, migrant interdiction, homeland security and defense operations, international training, and humanitarian operations. Northland patrols the offshore waters from Maine to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

For more breaking news or information about D7 follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“Homeland Security Task Force Southeast partners increase illegal migration enforcement patrols in Florida Straits, Caribbean” –D7

An overloaded migrant vessel sails next to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Confidence off the northwest coast of Haiti on Thursday, May 20, 2022. The Coast Guard said the boat collided with the bow of the cutter. U.S. Coast Guard

Below is a District Seven (HQ Miami) news release.

There has been a significant increase in illegal maritime immigration attempts. Figures below were culled from previous press releases:

Since Oct, 1, 2021, Coast Guard crews have interdicted 7,173 Haitian migrants compared to:

  • 1,527 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2021
  • 418 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2020
  • 932 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 609 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 419 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2017

Since Oct. 1, 2021, Coast Guard crews interdicted 5,006 Cubans compared to: 

  • 838 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2021
  • 49 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2020
  • 313 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 259 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 1,468 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2017
  • 5,396 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2016

Since Oct. 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, the Coast Guard has carried out 72 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico.  Interdicted during this period, are 1,919 non-U.S. citizens including 1,414 Dominicans, 404 Haitians, 01 Cuban, 1 Ecuadorian, 52 Venezuelan, 12 Uzbek, and 35 of unknown nationalities.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast

Homeland Security Task Force Southeast partners increase illegal migration enforcement patrols in Florida Straits, Caribbean

Coast Guard Cutter Campbell stops unsafe, overloaded Haitian sailing vessels Coast Guard shows safety of life at sea interdiction process

Editor’s Note: Click on still images above to view high-resolution versions of migrant interdiction videos.

MIAMI — Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast enhanced its operational posture and readiness to address a recent increase in irregular maritime migration originating from the Bahamas and Cuba through the Florida Straits, from Haiti through the Windward Pass, and from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico through the Mona Pass.

Task Force partners are increasing patrols and enforcement by land, air and sea, day and night.

HSTF-SE is a Department of Homeland Security-led, standing interagency task force responsible for deterring, preventing, and responding to illegal maritime migration under Operation Vigilant Sentry. The primary objectives of the Task Force are to prevent loss of life at sea and to deter and dissuade maritime migration using DHS forces, reinforced by other federal, state, and local assets and capabilities.

“Illegal maritime voyages in the Caribbean are always dangerous and very often deadly,” said Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, Commander, Seventh Coast Guard District and Director, HSTF-SE. “Smugglers routinely exploit vulnerable migrants for profit while putting their lives at risk aboard overloaded and unseaworthy vessels. These dangerous voyages must not be attempted. Safe, legal, and orderly migration saves lives.”

OVS is HSTF-SE’s comprehensive, integrated, national operational plan for a rapid, effective, and unified response of federal, state, and local capabilities in response to maritime migration in the Caribbean. OVS describes the basic organization and structure by which the Task Force will deploy resources and coordinate multi-agency operations to address illegal maritime migration patterns in the Southeast region of North America. The plan allows for the task force to adjust resources and posture as necessary based upon illegal maritime migration trends.

“The U.S. Border Patrol Miami Sector is committed to working alongside our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in a whole-of-government effort to prepare for and address any potential increases in irregular maritime migration or border security threats in Florida,” said Walter N. Slosar, Chief Patrol Agent for Border Patrol Miami Sector and deputy director, HSTF-SE.

The Coast Guard and federal partners maintain a continual presence with land, air and sea assets in the Florida Straits and in the Caribbean Sea, as part of a multi-layered approach to interdict migrants attempting to enter the U.S. Those without a legal basis in the United States will be removed.

In 2003, the DHS established HSTF-SE for the purpose of responding to maritime migration events in the Caribbean. The Task Force provides the organizational framework to detect maritime migration indicators, monitor maritime migration trends, and conduct joint training, exercises, and planning. Members of the Task Force include the U.S. Coast Guard, the departments of Defense, State, Justice, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Secret Service, and state and local agencies including representatives from FDEM, FDLE, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

HSTF-SE represents an all-of-government approach. CBP-AMO officers embarked on aircraft and boats work alongside Coast Guard units to detect and interdict illegal maritime migrant ventures. CBP-OFO officers and USBP agents coordinate efforts with maritime branches to detect and interdict migrants who land on Florida beaches and U.S. islands and territories in the Caribbean. HSI special agents specifically target individuals who are involved in human smuggling events and investigate the transnational criminal organizations that profit from these illegal activities. U.S. Public Health Service officers from the ICE Health Service Corps Special Operations Unit work with the Coast Guard and provide medical care to migrants on board Coast Guard vessels and treat any immediate needs.

The Coast Guard is simultaneously a federal law enforcement agency and a branch of the military. Among its 11 statutory missions, the Coast Guard is charged with the enforcement of U.S. immigration law and U.S. government policy to secure our maritime borders and prevent illegal migration attempts by sea. People trying to enter the country illegally by sea will be interdicted and repatriated to their country of origin or the country they departed from, consistent with U.S. law, policies, and international treaty obligations.

Follow Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast on Twitter @HSTF_Southeast.

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Photos to Share, Report of Collision and Two Canadian AOPS in Key West

An overloaded migrant vessel sails next to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Confidence off the northwest coast of Haiti on Thursday, May 20, 2022. The Coast Guard said the boat collided with the bow of the cutter. U.S. Coast Guard

Couple of photographs of interest.

First is a photo of a ship I served on, USCGC Confidence (now based in Florida instead of Kodiak). The photo is from a Miami Herald report, “Coast Guard says migrant boat collided with cutter off the coast of Haiti.(apparently very minor) Confidence is about 56 years old and still doing the job. I see four RHIBs in the photo and Connie has only two. No indication where the other two came from.

The second is from Facebook. What are two Canadian Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) doing in Key West? One has been doing drug interdiction with the US Coast Guard.

HMCS Harry Dewolf (AOPV 430) and HMCS Margaret Brooke (AOPV 431) alongside at NAS Key West, Florida in late May of 2022. HMCS Margaret Brooke is finishing warm weather trials on the ships cooling systems. HMCS Harry DeWolf is finishing a Op Caribbe with the USCG.

“Royal Bahamas Defence Force makes huge surge in migrant apprehensions” –The Watch

NorthCom’s online magazine, “The Watch,” reports,

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) announced that its migrant apprehensions increased dramatically in 2021 when compared with the previous year.

RBDF Commodore Raymond King said during a January 2022 news conference that detainments in the Bahamas increased by 456% in the past year, according to The Tribune, a Bahamian newspaper. King said the RBDF is faced with “people  smugglers” who are using more sophisticated methods to evade authorities.

This is really a success story with strong USCG involvement. There was also success reported in discouraging illegal fisheries poaching.

Related:

“MASTERING EXPEDITIONARY IUU FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT IN THE BAHAMAS” –CIMSEC

“U.S. upgrades Bahamas’ maritime security” –The Watch

Damen to Build New Patrol Boats for Bahamas

Thailand Buys AT-6 for Coast Guard Type Missions

Defense News reports that Thailand has become the first international customer for the Textron Beechcraft AT-6 light attack aircraft.

Thomas Hammoor, president and CEO of Textron Aviation Defense, said in a statement that the Royal Thai Air Force selected the Beechcraft AT-6 to conduct a broad array of missions in support of border security as well as anti-smuggling, counternarcotics and anti-human trafficking operations.

This is basically the same aircraft Coast Guard aviators train on before they get their wings, but with upgrades. I can’t help but think something like this or the similar Embraer A-29 Super Tucano could handle a lot of ISR missions more economically than what we are using now.

They could be used to scout for D7 Webber class FRCs doing drug or migrant interdiction and provide shots across the bow and over-watch in lieu of a helicopter.

The Washington DC air intercept mission in particular comes to mind. Local searches for overdue boats is another possibility. As you can see these aircraft support integrated electro-optical sensors.

An AT-6 Beechcraft is on display at the 2021 Dubai Airshow. (Agnes Helou/Staff)

Armed, these could also provide a response to terrorist attacks. My earlier ramblings on Coast Guard aircraft missions here.

Shelter for Migrants

RESOLUTE conducts an at-sea transfer with CGC DILIGENCE. The transfer included a 77 Haitian migrants, their personal belongings, and a Creole interpreter. In total, RESOLUTE cared for 260 Haitian migrants. All migrants are given food, water, and medical attention once onboard a Coast Guard cutter. During a 56-day patrol, RESOLUTE provided overt presence in Northern Haiti to deter illegal and dangerous migration voyages. Photo by ENS Alex Cordes.

The photo above came with the press release below. I don’t normally publish these routine patrol reports, but I wanted to publish the picture to illustrate how the Coast Guard is sheltering large numbers of migrants on small cutters. You can see the awnings fore and aft. The migrants are sheltered there.

This does mean the cutter cannot operate a helicopter or its Mk38 gun mount. Access to sanitary facilities is limited.

united states coast guard

News Release  U.S. Coast Guard 7th District PA Detachment Tampa Bay

 

Coast Guard cutter Resolute returns home from 56-day deployment

Resolute conducts an at-sea transfer with Cutter Diligence.

Editor’s Note: Click on the images to download high resolution versions

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Resolute returns home to St. Petersburg, Florida, Saturday, following a successful 56-day Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) and Coast Guard District Seven (D7) Patrol in the Caribbean Sea.

During the patrol, Resolute interdicted multiple suspected smugglers on a go-fast vessel obtaining 279.5 kilograms of cocaine, and rescued 260 Haitian migrants.

 Resolute, with the assistance from a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) maritime patrol aircraft, tracked and pursued a drug smuggling vessel for eight hours, culminating in a successful intercept and seizure. The suspected smugglers were detained and later transferred for case disposition in the United States.

Due to increased political instability in Haiti, Resolute’s tasking shifted to Alien Migration Interdiction Operations in the Windward Pass; specifically to overtly patrol and discourage unsafe maritime migration voyages. On Sept. 24, Resolute conducted one of the largest single-unit repatriations into Cap Haitien, Haiti in recent history. Small-boat crews conducted 78 consecutive transfers safely returning all 260 migrants and their personal belongings back to Haitian authorities.   

On Sept. 22, Resolute interdicted an overcrowded sail freighter with 183 Haitian migrants including 17 children and infants aboard. Bound for the United States, the 55-foot vessel was dangerously overloaded and lacked sufficient navigation and safety equipment to make the journey. All 183 migrants were transferred safely to the cutter where they were provided food, water, shelter, and medical attention. In less than 24-hours, Resolute received an additional 77 migrants from another Coast Guard asset, raising the total count to 260.

“The migrant interdiction mission is always unique; while the migrants are attempting to escape the poor living conditions in Haiti, their unsafe voyages risk the lives of innocent people, including children,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Wooley, a maritime enforcement specialist. “It is unfortunate to see, but it makes us feel good knowing that we potentially saved 183 people from capsizing and drowning at sea.”

After a long and successful patrol, the crew is eager to return home and spend the holiday season with friends, family and loved ones.

“The crew’s actions during this patrol were heroic and inspiring. I am especially impressed with their professional dexterity and ability to shift from counter-drug operations to humanitarian missions in a moment’s notice, embracing our service motto: Semper Paratus-Always Ready,” said Cmdr. Justin Vanden Heuvel, commanding officer of Resolute.

Resolute is a 210-foot Reliance class cutter and has a crew of 72. Resolute was commissioned on December 8, 1966, and is homeported St. Petersburg, Florida.

For more information about Resolute’s patrol, please contact our Public Affairs Officer, Ensign Alex Cordes at

Alexander.N.Cordes@uscg.mil or visit our website at https://www.atlanticarea.uscg.mil/Area-Cutters/CGCRESOLUTE/. Follow us on Facebook at <\http://www.facebook.com/uscoastguardcutterResolute.

For more breaking news follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

“Migrants flown out of Texas border city after thousands cross Rio Grande” –Reuters

© Reuters/MARCO BELLO People board an U.S. Coast Guard airplane at the Del Rio International Airport as U.S. authorities accelerate removal of migrants at border with Mexico, in Del Rio

Reuters reports that,

“Reuters journalists saw a white bus escorted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents enter the Del Rio airport, then a group boarding a Coast Guard plane. A police source said the people were migrants and a source familiar with airport operations said the aircraft was heading to El Paso, Texas.”

Coast Guard vessels have routinely been to forcibly return migrants to their home countries. Its one of the more distasteful tasks that come with the job. This is the first time I have heard of our aircraft being used for that purpose (not to say it has never happened before, I don’t know).

This is a C-27J out of CGAS Sacramento. I can almost hear the air crew members saying, “This is not what I signed up for!”

Incidentally, any partisan political statements in the comments will be deleted. Take it somewhere else. 

“British Army drone to fly over English Channel to monitor migrant boats” –Independent

Thales Watchkeeper WK450

Like the US Coast Guard, the UK Border Force conducts Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations. They are reportedly getting some assistance from the British Army in the form of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) being used to patrol the English Channel.

The UAVs are Thales Watchkeeper WK 450s (manufacturer’s brochure here) an improved version of the Israeli Elbit Hermes 450 with the addition of a dual-mode synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indication system, providing all weather target acquisition.

The Watchkeeper program has not been cheap, about 1.2 billion pounds to provide and support 54 drones, and it has had its problems. They were supposed to have been operational in 2010, but apparently only reached Initial Operational Capability in 2014. Five have crashed. Regarding the current fleet,

“45 Watchkeeper airframes were in service as at 23 July 2020. 13 have flown in the past 12 months and 23 have been in storage for longer than 12 months. Of those flying, 10 have been operated by the Army from Akrotiri in Cyprus and Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, three have been used for test and evaluation. The airframes in storage are held at specific, graduated, levels of readiness. This is commensurate with practices used on other Defence capabilities and assets.”

The airframes are:

  • Length: 19.69 ft (6 m)
  • Span: 34.45 ft (10.5 m)
  • Engine: Winkel rotary, 52 hp
  • Max Speed: 95 knots
  • Operational Radius: 200 km; 108 nm (Line of Sight)
  • Endurance: 16+ hours
  • Service ceiling 18,045 feet (5,500 m)

This means, it is about half the size of the familiar MQ-1 Predator, also a bit slower and their service ceiling is lower.

The British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has selected Israel’s Elbit to demonstrate the capabilities of their larger Eblit Hermes 900 UAVs. which has capabilities similar to those of the MQ-1. Meanwhile the RAF is also flying surveillance over the English Channel. 

“H.R. 367/S.21 the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act” –Navy League

I am passing this along for our friends in the Navy League who are trying to help make sure we don’t have pay interruptions in the future. Thanks to Lee for bringing it to my attention. 

The Navy League is launching a campaign to support H.R. 367/S.21 the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act, which would ensure active-duty service members are paid during a government shutdown. For the first time in history the men and women of the Coast Guard worked without pay due to a lapse in appropriations during the partial shutdown earlier this year. This legislation would change that, and we support its passage. This bi-partisan, bi-cameral bill, sponsored by Chairman of the House Transportation Committee Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) has 186 cosponsors in the House and 40 in the Senate. It passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last month, allowing it to be put on the calendar for a vote by the full House.

Take Action Now! Tell your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act.