In 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard:
- Screened more than 248,000 commercial vessels and their 62 million passengers and crewmembers before arrival in U.S. ports, identifying nearly 400 individuals in a person-of-interest watch list.
- Maintained a contingent of six patrol boats and 400 personnel to enforce United Nations sanctions in the Arabian Gulf, train Iraqi naval forces and protect Iraqi maritime oil infrastructure.
- Kept 352,862 pounds of cocaine and 71,234 pounds of marijuana from reaching the United States, while nabbing 322 suspected smugglers.
- Saved more than 4,747 lives and responded to 23,555 emergencies.
- Issued 73,168 merchant mariner credentials to qualified mariners
- Conducted more than 14,000 inspections of U.S. flagged vessels
- Investigated nearly 3,600 pollution incidents
- Conducted 49,276 armed patrols to protect critical infrastructure or key resources
- Maintained a 98 percent rate of availability for 50,000 short-range aids to navigation that helped mariners more safely navigate our nation's 95,000 miles of coastline, 25,000 miles of waterways and 12,000 miles of inland waterways that comprise the U.S. Marine Transportation System.
As a year-ending tribute, the Coast Guard released its top 11 video compilation for 2009, highlighting the year's most compelling cases from the work done every day by America's Guardians.
The video compilation includes:
- The capture of suspected pirates from a response to a vessel distress signal.
- The simultaneous pursuit and interdiction of two drug smuggling boats 80 miles of the coast of Guatemala.
- The rescue of two people from a burning boat near Corpus Christi, Texas, from an aircrew from Sector Corpus Christi, Texas.
- The rescue of six people from their capsized vessel two miles from the Columbia River, Wash.
The Coast Guard selected 11 videos to remind people of the service's 11 statutory missions.
The public is encouraged to vote online at the Coast Guard's YouTube channel for their favorite video in the Coast Guard's best video of 2009 contest. The Coast Guard Compass will be highlighting one video per day from Dec. 21 to Jan. 1.