USS Zephyr concludes Central America patrol

US Navy’s Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship USS Zephyr concluded a two-month patrol in the US 4th Fleet area of operations returning to its Florida homeport in November.

The ship began its patrol Aug. 26 and conducted counter illicit-trafficking (CIT) operations in support of Operation Martillo.

Operation Martillo, 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.

On Oct. 29, Zephyr and an embarked US Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) boarded a “go-fast” vessel finding 17 bales of cocaine. An additional 18 bales were recovered from waters near where the “go-fast” vessel was stopped.

Zephyr’s interdiction resulted in three detainees and the seizure of 726 kg. of cocaine valued at approximately $17-26 million in street value.

The 76 day patrol was Zephyr’s first deployment of this length since being home-ported at Naval Station Mayport. Three PCs, including Zephyr, have been outfitted with advanced capabilities, including a Coast Guard Over the Horizon Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (OTH-RHIB), which allows small teams of Coast Guard law enforcement personnel to travel a greater distance from the ship utilizing their own radar.

“The Zephyr crew was not deterred in the least by a record-setting 76 day patrol,” said Zephyr Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Grant Greenwell. “The team volunteered liberty time in San Juan, Puerto Rico to help offload supplies destined for Hurricane Maria victims. This crew inspires and motivates me daily; we may be one tenth the size of a destroyer and one tenth the crew, but we have ten times the heart!”

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