Picture a slightly different time. A high-speed vessel, HSV-23, loiters just north of the Yucatan Channel. The 25-man crew has been patrolling the northern Caribbean. Their missions: provide visual confirmation of shipping heading toward southeastern U.S. ports and visible deterrence for homeland security, and be on call for emergencies.
Suddenly, HSV-23 receives intelligence on a South American vessel suspected of carrying a dangerous chemical compound. (Prior to the patrol, the crew was augmented by a special boarding team in case of such a possibility.) The combat information center plots the last known position of the suspect vessel and directs the assigned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platform to conduct an open-ocean search. The target is 600 nautical miles (nm) to the south, heading northeast at 20 knots. The intercept plot is calculated to be ten hours. Orders from the bridge start the gas-turbine engines that turn the large water-jet propulsors and the intercept is under way.