US Coast Guard Cutter Spencer returns home after 88-day African patrol

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The crew of the USCGC Spencer returned to their home port in Portsmouth on 10 March following an 88-day deployment to Africa.

During the patrol, Spencer’s crew worked to combat illicit transnational activities, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, by conducting multinational law enforcement operations in the Atlantic Ocean, the US Coast Guard (USCG) said.

Spencer’s crew also participated in the Obangame Express 2023 maritime exercise with participants from the US Navy, US Coast Guard and 17 West African partners. Conducted by US Naval Forces Africa, Obangame Express focusses on countering illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and other sea-based illicit activity.

Spencer’s crew hosted multiple African country representatives, held diplomatic engagements and participated in community relations events during port visits in Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Nigeria and Côte D’Ivoire. Spencer’s port visit to Lomé, Togo marked the first US ship visit to Togo since 2012.

While at sea, Spencer also interdicted a Brazilian sailing vessel carrying 3 040 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth over $109 million.

Spencer’s crew was augmented with several temporarily assigned members, including Tactical Law Enforcement and Maritime Safety and Security Team personnel, medical officers from the US Public Health Service and Coast Guard, US Coast Guard Auxiliary Chinese language translators, electronics technicians and a yeoman.

“I am very proud of what this crew accomplished on Spencer while working with our partners in Africa,” said Commander Corey Kerns, Spencer’s commanding officer. “Together we demonstrated the US’s commitment to maritime security in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. We helped our partners in the region build the capability to enforce a rules-based order critical to their own food and economic security. I know this deployment will be something we all remember for a long time, and it was an honour to be a part of it.”