Thursday, April 28, 2005

Coast Guard news: Which is the better case?

Here's one for you to decide: two articles in today's Virginian Pilot.

First, a local cutter lands some white stuff.
The crew of a Portsmouth-based Coast Guard cutter is being credited with assisting in the seizure of more than $160 million worth of cocaine earlier this month while on patrol in the Caribbean Sea.

The drugs were seized from a “go-fast” vessel nabbed in a joint effort by the medium-endurance cutter Forward, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine Operations and the Navy.

And, next, a little something a little closer to home involving a good, old-fashioned rescue.
Fast work by the crew of a passing Coast Guard cutter helped save a 150-foot dredging barge and its 20-member crew from sinking Wednesday on the Elizabeth River near the south end of Norfolk Naval Station.

The crew members of the Pullen, owned by the Norfolk Dredging Co. Inc., saw the cutter Block Island under way and called for help at 10:30 a.m. They had a malfunction in their dredging gear that began flooding the barge’s forward hold at about 400 gallons a minute, leaving nearly eight feet of water in the hold, according to the Coast Guard.

The Block Island responded with several pumps while rescue coordinators at Group Hampton Roads diverted a Coast Guard helicopter in the area to drop additional pumps. Three other small boats from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth also were sent, along with the cutter Cochito.
Two good cases. Which provides a bigger punch in terms of citizen interest and impact? Which will count for taller sea stories years from now? Which will key Coast Guard stakeholders care about? Which got briefed to the Commandant and the Secretary of Homeland Security and, likely, the President? Which would you have rather participated in?

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