USCGC Confidence (WMEC-619)
USCGC Confidence (WMEC-619)
|Builder:||United States Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, Maryland|
|Homeport:||Port Canaveral, Florida|
|Length:||210 ft 6 in (64.16 m)|
|Beam:||34 ft (10 m)|
|Draft:||10 ft 6 in (3.20 m) max|
|Propulsion:||2 x V16 2550 horsepower ALCO diesel engines|
|Speed:||max 18 knots; 2,700 mile range|
|Range:||cruise 14 knots; 6,100 mile range|
|Complement:||12 officers, 63 enlisted|
|2 x AN/SPS-64|
|Aircraft carried:||HH-65 Dolphin|
Construction of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Confidence began at the United States Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, in 1965 and was completed in 1966. Fifth of 16 vessels in the class, Confidence was designed for search and rescue, law enforcement, and alien migrant interdiction operations (AMIO). Originally assigned to the Seventeenth Coast Guard District to support operations in Kodiak, Alaska, in the spring of 1983, following 17 years in Alaskan waters, Confidence was reassigned to the Thirteenth Coast Guard District and was homeported in Port Angeles, Washington. During her time in the Pacific Northwest, Confidence’s crew seized 17 foreign and U.S. vessels for violations of U.S. law. In January 1986, Confidence and her crew seized the Panamanian freighter “Eagle 1” and its cargo of 506 pounds (230 kg) of cocaine. This was the largest maritime seizure of cocaine on the west coast at the time.
Confidence was decommissioned and sent to the United States Coast Guard Yard in February 1987 for a major overhaul, referred to as a Midlife Maintenance Availability. Modifications included the installation of a new electronics package to increase the ship’s effectiveness, new engines and smokestacks to increase efficiency, and habitability was improved. In October 1988, Confidence was commissioned back into service and sent to her new homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida. Now the ship is normally assigned to patrol the waters off the southern coast of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. Her primary missions are Counter Drug operations, Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations (AMIO), Homeland Security Operations, fisheries law enforcement, and Search and Rescue (SAR).
Since the fall of 1991, Confidence has been heavily involved in AMIO, including the interdiction of Haitian, Cuban, and Dominican Republic migrants attempting to illegally enter the U.S. One highlight of these operations was Confidence’s participation in Operation Able Vigil in 1993, and rescued 1,123 Cuban migrants in less than 4 weeks. The busiest day resulted in the interdiction of 346 migrants from 46 separate rafts and boats in just 16 hours. In the spring of 1992, Confidence participated in Operation Able Manner, interdicting 428 Haitian migrants. Later that year, the ship was the primary platform for Operation Restore Dignity off the coast of Haiti, recovering 78 Haitians who perished when their ferry sank.
In 2001, Confidence was outfitted with an Over the Horizon (OTH) Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, designed to transport law enforcement teams at high speeds for long distances independent of the cutter.
From January 2003 until June 2005, Confidence interdicted over 1,100 Cuban, Haitian, and Dominican migrants with several noteworthy cases. In November 2004, Confidence rescued 82 migrants from a 28-foot (8.5 m) Haitian sailing vessel taking on water off the coast of the Bahamas. In January 2005, Confidence crewmembers rescued 127 migrants in 8-foot (2.4 m) seas from a 40-foot (12 m), grossly overloaded Dominican yola. In June, 2005 during a ten-day period, Confidence safely intercepted 162 Haitians from a 40-foot (12 m) vessel on the Great Bahama Bank, seven Cubans from a makeshift vessel sinking in the Old Bahama Channel and 111 Haitians in a 30-foot (9.1 m) vessel in 9-foot (2.7 m) seas north of Great Inagua, Bahamas.
The year 2006 was the 40th anniversary of Confidence’s initial commissioning. The original life expectancy of this cutter class was 30 years, but it is expected she will remain in service an additional 10-15 years. During her years of faithful service, Confidence has been awarded the United States Secretary of Transportation’s Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement, 6 Coast Guard Unit Commendations, 5 Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, 3 National Defense Service Medals, 4 Humanitarian Service Medals, and 4 Special Operations Ribbons. Following the ship’s 2007 Tailored Annual Cutter Training, Confidence earned her 10th consecutive Coast Guard Battle "E" Ribbon for Operational Excellence.