Korea_oil_spill_bird.jpgA U.S. Coast Guard cutter departed San Francisco on Thursday for the Gulf of Mexico to assist with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response.

A crew of 41 aboard the Aspen is joining more than 180 California-based Coast Guard personnel assigned to oil spill duty in response to the disaster.

The Aspen, a 225-foot sea-going vessel stationed at Yerba Buena Island, is expected to be deployed for several months for the clean-up effort.

The cutter is well suited for the mission because it can deploy skimming and oil containment equipment in its pollution response role.

Two skimming systems and 9,500 feet of boom from California have also been sent to the region.

In addition to performing search and rescue missions, assisting in navigation and patrolling waters for law enforcement, the cutter can also be used for logistics, command and control.

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