WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned home to Wilmington just in time for Thanksgiving on Thursday after completing a 60-day patrol in the Caribbean.
“The Diligence performed counter drug, search and rescue, and alien migrant interdiction operations in support of Coast Guard District Seven and Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South,” the Coast Guard said in a news release Thursday.
While working with Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Diligence seized more than 300 kilograms of cocaine, worth more than $9 million. It also was responsible for the disruption of more than 800 kilograms of cocaine, worth more than $25 million.
Two alleged drug smugglers were apprehended in the operation and turned over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration authorities in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands for prosecution.
The Diligence crew also helped facilitate the transfer of 5,000 kilograms of cocaine and 11 drug smugglers interdicted by other Coast Guard cutters to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for prosecution.
While on patrol, the Diligence also “interdicted three illegal and unsafe migrant smuggling vessels in the Mona Pass between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico; and repatriated 76 of the migrants to the Dominican Republic Navy and turned over four migrants suspected to be in violation of U.S. immigration laws to U.S. Customs authorities in Puerto Rico.”
Earlier this month, the Diligence found a Haitian vessel disabled and adrift off the north coast of Haiti. The Diligence took the vessel in tow, and delivered it and its 13 passengers to a safe harbor on the north coast of Haiti.
The Diligence crew also assisted the Royal Bahamian Police and Defense Forces in rescuing 86 Haitian migrants stranded on a desolate beach on Great Inagua Island with no food or water after their vessel had run aground. The Diligence brought all 86 persons aboard the cutter, and safely brought them to Bahamian Customs authorities in Matthew Town, Great Inagua.
“Diligence had a remarkably busy and productive patrol,” said Cmdr. Luke M. Slivinski, Diligence’s Commanding Officer. “Our success in carrying out numerous challenging operations in an unforgiving maritime environment across a range of Coast Guard missions was a testament to the professionalism, hard work, and determination of the crew.”