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NEWS | March 27, 2019

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Thetis Rescues Sea Turtles in Gulf of Guinea

By Photojournalist Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis (WMEC 910) rescued two loggerhead sea turtles in the Gulf of Guinea while conducting routine training in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, March 23, 2019.

A Coast Guarsdman standing watch spotted the sea turtles tangled in a commercial fishing net. The officer of the deck instructed crew members to deploy a small boat crew to safely cut the distressed turtles free of the net.

“I was able to work with my fellow crew members to help save not one but two loggerhead sea turtles that were trapped in a fishing net,” said Coxswain Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Hartfiel. “I joined the Coast Guard to save lives… being able to free those turtles from the net and ensure they could be saved was a unique and special experience to be a part of.”

Thetis is homeported in Key West, Florida, and is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter that specializes in maritime law enforcement operations, specifically counter-narcotics and alien migrant smuggling, and search and rescue operations.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquarted in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.