Wilmington welcomes home Coast Guard Cutter Diligence

The Coast Guard Cutter Diligence transits through the Florida Straights near Key West, Florida, May 31, 2016. The Diligence recently returned to its homeport of Wilmington, North Carolina following a 53-day patrol. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The Coast Guard Cutter Diligence transits through the Florida Straights near Key West, Florida, May 31, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Families, friends and well-wishers welcomed home the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence crew in Wilmington, North Carolina, June 21, 2016 following a 53-day patrol, which included 21 days at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, for tailored ship’s training availability and 32 days in the Florida Straits in support of Operation Vigilant Sentry and Operation Blue Hammer.

During the patrol, Diligence rescued 62 Cuban migrants from six unseaworthy vessels in the Florida Straits and worked with agency partners to coordinate the rescue and care for a total of 600 Cuban, Haitian, Jamaican and Guayanese migrants.

Operation Blue Hammer focuses on migrant interdiction and repatriation operations in the Florida Straits. Carrying out law enforcement and humanitarian missions simultaneously, the Coast Guard enforces immigration laws, while also ensuring safety of life at sea for those who attempt the dangerous trip across the Florida Straits in unseaworthy vessels from Cuba to the United States.

The migrant interdiction operations were coordinated with federal and interagency partners, including Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, U.S. Public Health Service and several Florida state and local law enforcement agencies.

Throughout the patrol, Diligence bid farewell to shipmates moving on to new units and welcomed shipmates arriving with wide ranging experiences.

Cutter Diligence is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Wilmington with a crew of approximately 80. Its missions include counter drug and migrant interdiction, enforcing federal fishery laws, and search and rescue operations.

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