US Navy patrol ships return from Caribbean patrol

USS Zephyr. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy Cyclone-class patrol coastal ships USS Zephyr (PC 8) and USS Shamal (PC 13) returned to Mayport, Florida, concluding counter drug patrols in support of operation Martillo.

The ships returned on January 17 wrapping up their 64-day patrol in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility.

Marking the completion of the ship’s first deployment in fiscal year 2017, Zephyr’s patrol resulted in one interdiction entailing the seizure of 900 kilograms of cocaine and detaining four personnel.

Operation Martillo is a joint, international law enforcement and military operation involving U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nations, and targets illicit trafficking routes in the waters off Central America. The 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.

Three patrol coastal ships, including Zephyr and 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 and utilize their own radar to conduct counter-illicit trafficking operations.

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

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