Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to Wilmington after patrol

 Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew prepares to land on the flight deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen.

Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew prepares to land on the flight deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen.

WILMINGTON, N.C. – The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is scheduled to return to Wilmington at 3:30 p.m. today following a 46-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

During the patrol, the crew aboard the Diligence was diverted to conduct a search and rescue mission of four Italian sailors aboard the 30-foot sailing vessel Algeria, which became disabled off the Coast of Panama.

The four sailors had been underway on the Algeria for more than a month navigating from Italy to Costa Rica when the vessel became disabled. The crew aboard the Diligence traveled more than 175 miles to the Algeria’s location and then towed the sailing vessel to safety in Chiriqui Grande, Panama.

“The crew did a fantastic job responding to the sailors aboard the Algeria,” said Cmdr. Jeff Randall, Diligence’s commanding officer. “The crew quickly transitioned from counter-narcotics operations to search and rescue operations in some really challenging conditions to get aboard this disabled sailing vessel, assess the situation and determine the best course of action to get these four individuals to safety.”

During the patrol, the crew aboard the Diligence conducted search and rescue operations off the coast of Panama, drug interdiction operations in the vicinity of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, and alien migrant interdiction operations in the Straits of Florida.

Diligence patrolled in support of the Joint Interagency Task Force South’s Operation Martillo in the Western Caribbean Sea from Honduras to Columbia. As part of this task force, the U.S. Coast Guard works alongside interagency and international partners to prevent and respond to the smuggling of illegal narcotics throughout the Caribbean Sea.

When not conducting law enforcement activities, the crew conducts training to help newly reported crewmembers complete their required shipboard qualifications. They also completed several flight deck qualification and recertification requirements while simultaneously helping pilots from Air Stations Savannah, Miami, and Jacksonville maintain their qualifications to enhance their proficiency with conducting flight operations from Coast Guard cutters.

Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Wilmington with a crew of approximately 75.

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