Thursday, 30 December 2010

ESCANABA Repatriates 80 Haitian Migrants

Posted by ENS Ray T. Chaisson
by ENS Ray Chaisson
Photos by: PO Brown, PO Scarberry, and PO Malicki

Only days after the Caribbean Reach case, ESCANABA diverted for another case. ESCANABA diverted to respond to a sail freighter overloaded with at least 60 people on deck. ESCANABA was first on scene and quickly determined it was a migrant vessel. With the assistance of the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, ESCANABA was able to safely embark a total of 80 migrants onto ESCANABA. Afterwards we proceeded to Haiti to repatriate the migrants with the assistance of the Haitian Coast Guard. The press release can be found here.

This case is another great example of the benefits of forward deployed Coast Guard presence in the Caribbean. As we discussed in the Caribbean Reach post, this case exemplifies the importance of international partners in effective execution of U.S. Coast Guard multi-mission responsibilities. (here and here).

ESCANABA is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter, it can maintain a forward presence offshore, bring its command, control and communications capability, as well as patrol capability, to the blue water environment and the littorals. The Coast Guard’s 29 Medium Endurance Cutters are the workhorses of the offshore patrol fleet, and routinely conduct many of the Coast Guard's eleven statutory missions. This capability, forward deployed, supports national goals of having the right asset at the right place at the right time. The value of forward deployed Medium Endurance Cutters was demonstrated in 2010 when the cutters Forward, Mohawk, Tahoma, and Valiant were the first US assets on-scene in the initial hours after the devastating January earthquake. Medium Endurance Cutters patrol the ocean ranging from offshore the East, Gulf, West and Alaskan Coasts of the United States, the Eastern Pacific, the Caribbean, and offshore South America.