SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The sun beamed across a clear blue sky and a marching band played as the Coast Guard cutter Aspen docked on Yerba Buena Island, five months after it was dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to help clean up the BP spill.

A deployment the crew of 41 expected to last just a few days turned into a clean-up operation that involved skimming 140,000 gallons of the crude that leaked from the Deepwater Horizon well.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

First Lt. John Rose remembered “a lot of long days, a lot of hundred degree plus temperatures with no air moving and a lot of humidity” and shipmates who gave it their all.

It’s unusual for a Coast Guard ship to be gone more than ten days, said Christie Brubaker, wife of the ship’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Roy Brubaker.

“They told us to prepare for the holidays,” Mrs. Brubaker said.

Part of the lengthy deployment included decontaminating the ship in Tampa. And as the cutter set course for California, the crew got word it would be diverted to help the passengers stranded on the Carnival cruise ship Splendor.

Fortunately other vessels arrived to help. The Aspen will be in the Bay Area for at least a few weeks.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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