The US Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is scheduled to return to its homeport in Wilmington today, Thursday, following a 60-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.
During this patrol, Diligence performed a diverse range of Coast Guard missions throughout the Western and Southern Caribbean which included search and rescue operations off the coast of Honduras, and drug interdiction operations in the vicinity of Columbia, Panama, and Nicaragua.
During its patrol the vessel transited north of Cuba where it encountered a small makeshift raft called a “rustica” with nine Cuban migrants onboard. Diligence crew plucked the migrants from the sinking craft and transferred to another Coast Guard vessel for eventual repatriation to Cuba. On another occasion, the cutter’s law enforcement boarding team inspected a vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics, then, it was escorted to Panama and transferred to a joint team of Panamanian naval personnel and additional Coast Guard law enforcement crew. As the inspection continued, 112 kilograms of cocaine were seized.
Diligence worked with the Honduran Coast Guard to respond to a search and rescue mission after receiving a distress call from a disabled Honduran fishing vessel that had been stranded for several days inside Honduran Territorial Seas. After finding the vessel, Diligence remained on scene for eight hours until the Honduran Coast Guard arrived to help.
Regular work days in addition to response missions aboard the cutter involved training time where newly-reported crewmembers completed their required shipboard and boat crew qualifications.
After Diligences returns to port, it will make preparations for a change of command ceremony scheduled for July 9. Diligence’s current commanding officer, Capt. Jeff Randall, will be relieved by prospective commanding officer, Cmdr. Matt Carter.