US Coast Guard cutter Tampa returns to port with $68M worth of drugs seized

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tampa returned to Portsmouth, Virginia following a 65-day, counter-narcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central and South America.

During their patrol, Tampa’s crew interdicted approximately 2,059 kilograms of narcotics with an estimated wholesale value of $68 million. They also forced traffickers to abandon an estimated 1,950 kilograms at sea, preventing an additional $64 million worth of narcotics from reaching shore.

Tampa crewmembers also worked with the Helen Keller School for the Blind in Panama City, Panama, where crewmembers restored the school’s playgrounds and repainted classrooms.

Commissioned in 1983, Tampa is a multi-mission 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth. The cutter is responsible for a variety of Coast Guard missions including search and rescue, enforcement of laws and treaties, maritime defense, and protection of the marine environment.

The Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, along with the service’s 27 other medium endurance cutters, is slated to be replaced by a new fleet of Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC) that will have the endurance to operate more than 50 miles offshore to carry out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety missions.