The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter SPAR crew returned to their homeport of Kodiak Sunday after a 42-day patrol throughout the Arctic region and Bering Sea in support of Operation Arctic Shield 2016.

During the patrol, the SPAR crew assisted with scientific research, participated in community relations visits in remote Alaska native villages, conducted maritime law enforcement, completed maintenance of National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration data weather buoys and serviced aids to navigation.

While in the Bering, SPAR visited the remote communities of Little Diomede, St. Paul, St. George, Hooper Bay, Golovin, and White Mountain. During these visits SPAR crews met with community leaders to gain an understanding of the impacts of decreasing polar ice and increasing Arctic traffic in their communities.

In Little Diomede, the crew assisted the remote island by transporting 2,000 lbs of electronic waste for recycling. Additionally, in the communities of White Mountain and Hooper Bay, SPAR crews evaluated their needs with respect to marking their waterways with aids to navigation for safe transits to and from the communities.

Coast Guard Cutter SPAR's buoy deck team gathers and listens to a safety brief prior to servicing a NOAA weather buoy in the Gulf of Alaska, Sept. 21, 2016. The Coast Guard and NOAA coordinate to set and service weather buoys that allow mariners to check weather on the high seas. - USCG photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Portier.

The SPAR crew carried out maritime law enforcement during the patrol as well, assuring vessel safety and compliance with federal law. In Nome, the crew conducted at-sea boardings of gold dredge vessels verifying safety equipment, documentation and other items onboard the vessels.

Throughout the Bering Sea the crew conducted boardings on commercial fishing and processing vessels to help protect valuable living marine resources and ensure the safety of the crews who serve aboard fishing fleets.

Coast Guard Cutter SPAR conducts an at-sea fisheries law enforcement boarding in the Bering Sea near Akutan Bay, Alaska, Sept. 20, 2016. SPAR a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, is currently deployed in support of Operation Arctic Shield 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

SPAR crews also serviced aids to navigation in the Pribilof Islands, Adak and Akutan Harbor, and worked in conjunction with NOAA to conduct maintenance and upgrades to five of their weather data buoys.

SPAR, known as “The Aleutian Keeper”, is a seagoing buoy tender with an area of operation spanning from its homeport of Kodiak, throughout the Aleutian chain, and north to the Pribilof Islands. The SPAR’s primary missions includes maintenance of aids to navigation, search and rescue, law enforcement and community relations.

Source: USCG