U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Venturous (WMEC-625) returned to its homeport in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday following a 69-day patrol providing hurricane relief in the Caribbean Sea.
Venturous transited more than 8,000 miles patrolling the waters around Puerto Rico as part of the federal effort delivering humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies to the region following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, according to a Coast Guard statement.
Venturous delivered more than 150,000 pounds of relief supplies to five coastal cities in Puerto Rico, including 7,000 gallons of fuel, 5,500 gallons of water from the cutter’s tanks. The crew even donated 700 pounds of food from their rations and 500 pounds of food from their personal supplies aboard the cutter, according to a Coast Guard statement.
Engineers from the cutter also helped repair generators and water pumps on shore, the Coast Guard reported. On the Puerto Rican island of Culebra, Venturous crew members restored usable water to hospitals and homes.
Venturous is a 210-foot Reliance-class cutter carrying 76 crewmembers. Medium endurance cutters such as Venturous, are slated for replacement by the new Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). Last year, Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding was awarded an initial $110.3 million contract to build the first OPC hull with options to build up to eight more on a contract that could be worth as much as $2.38 billion. Ultimately, the program calls for 25 OPCs built.
This new class of cutter, expected to first be delivered in 2021, will have the ability to operate more than 50 miles from land, providing surface and air pursuit capabilities which are intended to operate with other military and federal partners.