Cyclone-class patrol coastal USS Shamal (PC 13) returned April 20 from her second 45-day patrol in the U.S 4th Fleet area of operations.
Shamal deployed Dec. 9, 2015 and again March 8 to conduct counter illicit trafficking 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. 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.
The 45-day patrols were USS Shamal’s first engagements since she transferred service from the Coast Guard to the Navy to help fill the gap left by the decommissioning of the last Oliver Hazard Perry Frigates last year. 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 small teams of U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement personnel to travel a greater distance from the ship utilizing their own radar. All three PCs are homeported in Mayport and are expected to deploy regularly to the 4th Fleet AOR.
In support of Operation Martillo, Shamal’s recent patrol assisted in two joint interdictions, resulting in the seizure or jettison of 1,400 kg of cocaine and one detainee. Her previous patrol also resulted in two interdiction events from which 620 kg of cocaine and four detainees were apprehended.
So far this calendar year, U.S. Navy assets have contributed to the apprehension of more than 28,748 kg of cocaine and 72 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 with their deployed U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachments.
Next on the horizon for Shamal is Fleet Week in New York City. Shamal will join four other Navy warships, four Naval Academy Yard Patrol Craft, and two Coast Guard vessels participating in the Parade of Ships on May 25. Ship tours will be available most days that week for interested parties.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support USSOUTHCOM’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
Image: US Navy