Diligence returns from Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations

WILMINGTON, N.C. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence will return to its homeport of Wilmington, Sept. 30, after patrolling in the Windward Pass in support of Coast Guard Alien Migration Interdiction Operations.

The Diligence departed Wilmington Aug. 10 for a 52-day patrol in the Windward Passage. The Diligence crew started this patrol by embarking 43 Haitian migrants attempting to gain illegal entrance into the United States. The migrants were found by cruise ship personnel and later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous. The Diligence crew repatriated the migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti. A joint boarding team from the Venturous and Diligence boarded the migrant vessel and discovered approximately 20 pounds of a substance suspected to be marijuana. The migrants were repatriated and the contraband transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

With hurricane season in full swing, the Diligence crew found themselves in the path of Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. To avoid the storms, the Diligence made a port call to San Juan where the crew received a well deserved break. After the storms cleared, the crew provided command, control, and communications for Coast Guard fixed and rotary winged aircraft assessing the damage to Haitian cities and coastlines. The crew transmitted images from detailed aerial assessments of the damage to the Coast Guard’s 7th District Commander in Miami ensuring that approaching humanitarian relief efforts would be provided to the areas of heightened need. The Diligence’s embarked helicopter provided the first wave of relief efforts to reach the flood devastated city of Gonaïves, Haiti.

With additional resources from the Coast Guard, U.S. Southern Command, and United Nations arriving to Haiti, the Diligence was reassigned to assist in recovery efforts from Hurricane Ike on Great Inagua, Bahamas. The Diligence arrived off the coast of Matthew Town, Great Inagua, just days after Ike passed to find much of the island’s homes and infrastructure destroyed or severely damaged. Work parties from the Diligence assisted in the extensive clean up of the Coast Guard Aviation Facility and local airport facilities. The crew repaired a generator at the local water plant, reestablishing the water distribution to 1,200 inhabitants on the devastated island. Diligence crewmembers also worked throughout the local community clearing hurricane debris. The crew cleaned up a local school facility, leading local workers in clearing classrooms, and cleaned up debris at two local churches, a recreation park and community center.

The Diligence crew sighted a 40-foot sailing vessel suspected of attempting to illegally smuggle migrants into the Bahamas Sept. 22. Working in conjunction with the Royal Bahamian Defense Forces, a Diligence boarding team from discovered 83 Haitian migrants onboard an overloaded and unstable vessel. Adverse weather prevented the safe transfer of the migrants in the dark, so the Diligence followed the vessel through the night before transferring the migrants aboard with assistance from the Royal Bahamian Defense Forces. The migrants were safely repatriated Sept. 24 in Cap Haitien.

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