News: San Francisco-based cutter deploys for Gulf of Mexico oil spill response
The Coast Guard Cutter Aspen, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported at Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco, deployed to the Gulf of Mexico to assist with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response June 4.
The Aspen is a versatile ship that can be used for pollution response, command and control, logistics, or other roles in addition to her primary missions of maintaining aids to navigation, search and rescue, and law enforcement. The cutter has the capability to deploy the skimming and oil containment equipment known as the Spilled Oil Recovery System. The cutter's crew of 41 joins over 180 California-based Coast Guard personnel who have been assigned to Deepwater Horizon oil spill duty. Two skimming systems and 9,500 feet of boom based in California have also been sent to the region.
"The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a national disaster," said Rear Adm. Joseph Castillo, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered here. "We're going to help in any way we can. The American people and Gulf Coast citizens deserve our strong support."
Responding to disasters is an important Coast Guard mission. California-based Coast Guard personnel, aircraft, vessels and equipment have regularly deployed to disasters such as the Haitian earthquake, California wildfires, floods, tsunamis, and other major response and relief operations. Some 5,300 active duty and 929 reserve Coast Guard personnel are based in California.
Shore-based maintenance teams and other West Coast buoy tenders will cover the Aspen's aids-to-navigation duties while the cutter is deployed to the Gulf of Mexico. The ship is expected to be deployed for several months.