USS Shamal concludes 4th Fleet patrol with 1,483 kg of cocaine seized

USS Shamal returns to Naval Station Mayport, after a 62-day deployment to the 4th Fleet area of responsibility where the crew conducted counter-illicit trafficking operations in support of Operation Martillo. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship USS Shamal (PC 13) returned from its third patrol in the U.S 4th Fleet area of operations on August 1.

In support of Operation Martillo, Shamal’s third patrol assisted in five joint interdictions, resulting in the seizure or jettison of 1,483 kilograms of cocaine and six detainees.

“Our most recent patrol has been especially rewarding,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Chesnut, Shamal’s Commanding Officer. “Shamal is contributing to enhancing security and stability in the region and we are becoming more proficient and successful with each patrol.”

So far this calendar year, U.S. Navy assets have contributed to the apprehension of more than 61,800 kg of cocaine and 156 detainees in support of Operation Martillo. These assets include U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and USS Lassen (DDG 82), in conjunction with other surface units including U.S. Coast Guard cutters.

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. U.S. Navy forces support the Joint Interagency Task Force-South-led operation in the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific through available air and surface assets.

As a result of this ongoing operation, regional partner nations and U.S. and European participants have strengthened and renewed their commitment to addressing the regional transnational criminal threat, have recognized improvements in communication and information sharing between law enforcement activities, have observed decreases in illicit maritime and air traffic, and continue to disrupt illicit trafficking operations.

Three PCs, including Shamal, have been outfitted with advanced capabilities including a U.S. Coast Guard Over the Horizon-Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (OTH-RHIB), which allows U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement personnel to travel a greater distance from the ship utilizing their own radar to conduct counter-illicit trafficking operations.

Shamal deployed June 6 to conduct counter illicit trafficking operations in support of the operation. Shamal, USS Zephyr (PC 8) and USS Tornado (PC 14) are homeported in Mayport and deploy regularly to the 4th Fleet AOR.

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