Wilmington, NC (WWAY) — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned to Wilmington Saturday from a 65-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.
Primary missions during the patrol included search and rescue, and alien migrant interdiction and counter drug operations in support of the Coast Guard 7th District’s Operation Southeast Watch.
According to a press release, Diligence patrolled the Windward Passage, between the west coast of Haiti and east coast of Cuba, to prevent, deter and respond to illegal migration ventures. Crew watched for home-made sail freighters that are known to be overloaded, unstable and lack basic safety equipment.
Official say the Diligence’s crew transferred custody during the middle of the patrol, of a 225-foot motor tanker, nine suspected drug traffickers, and approximately 1,900 kilograms of cocaine to law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg, Florida. Diligence’s crew maintained chain of custody during the two-week, 1,000-mile tow of the fuel-laden tanker with no power or propulsion from the western Caribbean Sea to St. Petersburg. The tow coincided with Hurricane Irma’s destructive pass through the northern Caribbean and Florida which required storm avoidance.
Following Hurricane Irma and Maria, Diligence continued to focus on the priorities to deter illegal migration and drug traffickers from taking advantage of the natural disasters.
Diligence concluded the patrol with Aviation Standardization, a three-day assessment of the cutters flight operations capabilities.
“I am thoroughly impressed with the crew’s resiliency throughout this dynamic patrol,” said Cmdr. Rob Mohr, commanding officer of the Diligence. “From start to finish, they exceeded all expectations and adapted remarkably to a multitude of schedule changes as a result of this busy hurricane season. I couldn’t be more proud of the crew.”