NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — The crew of the USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) returned to their home port in North Charleston, Sunday, following a 105-day patrol in the South Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Florida Straits.
Stone deployed in the Coast Guard’s Seventh District area of operations in support of U.S. Southern Command for Operation Southern Cross and Coast Guard Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast for Operation Vigilant Sentry. While underway, Stone’s crew worked to counter illicit maritime activities, strengthen regional maritime sovereignty and facilitate the safety of life at sea.
During Operation Southern Cross, Stone conducted operations to counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU-F) by partnering with South American countries to provide maritime domain awareness and information sharing on potential IUU-F vessels and other illicit maritime activity.
Stone embarked officers from the Brazilian Navy and provided real-time reports to their shoreside watch floor. Stone’s crew also conducted at-sea exercises with Brazilian and Uruguayan naval forces. These operations involved law enforcement boarding demonstrations and a search and rescue exercise with a Uruguay Naval Air Force helicopter crew. An embarked unmanned aircraft system (UAS) bolstered Stone’s capabilities and captured imagery of over 300 vessels.
During Operation Vigilant Sentry, Stone hosted an offshore Commander Task Unit (CTU) and facilitated the coordination and tasking of 10 cutters while conducting migrant interdiction operations. Working under CTU tasking, Stone interdicted 69 migrants at sea and facilitated safe repatriation to their country of origin.
"This patrol has been about partnerships, whether coordinating efforts with partner countries to counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing within the Atlantic Ocean or the multi-agency response within the South Florida Straits for migrant interdiction," said Coast Guard Capt. Clinton Carlson, Stone's commanding officer. "Everyone displayed proficiency and excellence throughout the patrol during all evolutions, training drills, or operations. I am incredibly proud of the hardworking crew and their dedication over this 105-day deployment."
Stone’s crew completed port visits in Montevideo, Uruguay, Suape and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The crew hosted multiple high-visibility events including maritime domain awareness round table discussions with senior government officials, key leader engagements and community relations events. The visits culminated in diplomatic receptions aboard Stone, including the U.S. Ambassadors to Brazil and Uruguay and senior government and military officials from the respective countries. These collaborative engagements supported U.S. initiatives to enhance regional cooperation, strengthen and fortify effective governance and preserve the ocean as a healthy, sustainable and resilient resource for future generations.
Stone is the ninth Legend-class national security cutter (NSC) in the Coast Guard fleet and currently homeports in North Charleston, South Carolina. NSCs execute homeland security and defense missions throughout the maritime environment.
Information about the U.S. Coast Guard’s efforts to combat IUU-F, including the Coast Guard’s IUU-F Strategic Outlook, the National 5-Year Strategy for Combatting IUU-F, and other resources, can be found here.
For information on how to join the U.S. Coast Guard, visit GoCoastGuard.com to learn about active duty, reserve, officer, and enlisted opportunities. Information on how to apply to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy can be found here.