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Coast Guard Cutter Venturous heads to home port after spill duty

One of the U.S. Coast Guard cutters that patrolled the Deepwater Horizon oil spill returns Wednesday to its home port of St. Petersburg, Fla.

Coast Guard officials issued a statement Tuesday that the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous is scheduled to return from patrol 9:15 a.m. Wednesday after a 49-day deployment first to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response and later to Haiti for migrant interdiction operations.

The Venturous crew was heading for a south Caribbean drug-interdiction patrol but was diverted to the spill to assume on-scene command and control for vessels 72 days after the oil started spilling, according to the ship's newsletter.

"At any given time in the first couple of weeks in the Gulf you could expect to see over 20 Coast Guard cutters in the Gulf, ranging from 87’ patrol boats to 225’ buoy tenders that were converted into oil skimmers," the newsletter said.

Crewmembers developed a communications and operations framework that will help to sustain continued oil spill response efforts in the future, the Coast Guard said.

Its sister ship, Resolute, conducted media operations out by the drill head, the Venturous newsletter said.

After BP capped the Gulf gusher, the Coast Guard Cutter Decisive took over command and control duties, the statement said.

Venturous is an 85-crew, 210-foot Reliance class cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, the Coast Guard says. Before the Gulf spill, its typical missions, according to the Coast Guard, included pursuits of drug traffickers, rescuing illegal immigrants from perilous waters, search and rescue operations and fisheries enforcement.

More details about Venturous, according to its website:

Motto: Nemo Supra, which means 'None Better.'

Builder: American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, Ohio.

First commissioning: Sept. 12, 1968.

Decommissioned: Feb. 11, 1994.

Recommissioned after modernization: May 9, 1996.

Second life-extending makeover: March 2007.

Commanding Officer: CDR Edward M. St. Pierre.