Cutter Vigilant Returns from Patrol

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – A local 210-foot Reliance-class cutter will return home Friday at 4 p.m. after a 53-day deployment conducting homeland security, law enforcement, and search and rescue missions in the Windward Passage and Florida Straits.

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant helped interdict and repatriate 82-Haitian Migrants, led the search for a Polish crewman that feel from his ship, detained seven suspected human smugglers, assisted Coast Guard units in the interdiction of two more suspected human smugglers, and provided more than 80 Cuban migrants food, water and medical care during this patrol.

“Through the vigilance and dedication of our Coast Guard men and women, we continue to disrupt attempts to smuggle undocumented migrants into the United States from the sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, public affairs officer for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “Each interdiction at sea and each disruption of a migrant smuggling attempt brings us another step closer to breaking apart the criminal organizations behind this threat to border security.”

The Crew of Vigilant assisted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant from Miami in the interdiction of 71-Haitian migrants 55-miles west of Great Inagua, Bahamas Sept. 12. Coast Guard units interdicted 11 more Haitian migrants less than one-mile east of Jupiter Island, Fla., Sept. 14. The migrants were transferred to the Vigilant for processing. After several days of care aboard the cutter, Vigilant’s crew repatriated all 82 migrants to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sept. 19.

While patrolling in the Florida Straits, Vigilant was responsible for the interdiction of seven suspected human smugglers and worked with other Coast Guard units to intercept two additional suspects. These smugglers were traveling in high-speed vessels known as go-fasts used for smuggling. In total, Vigilant’s crew processed over 80 Cuban migrants during this deployment, providing food, shelter and any necessary medical attention.

“We continue to ask for the public’s assistance in stopping this life-threatening criminal enterprise by reporting suspicious activity to the Coast Guard by calling 877-24-WATCH (877-249-2824) and by taking extra care to secure their boats when not in use,” said O’Neil.

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