Diligence returns home after two rescues, 100-kilogram cocaine seizure on 60-day patrol

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence. Staff photo.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence. Port City Daily file photo.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence recently returned to its homeport in Wilmington after a 60-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.

According to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Diligence performed several missions throughout the western and southern Caribbean Sea, including search and rescue operations off the coast of Honduras and drug operations near Columbia, Panama and Nicaragua.

Patrol highlights include two rescues and the seizure of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine, according to the news release.

While transiting north of Cuba, the Diligence crew rescued nine Cuban nationals from a sinking raft. They were transported back to Cuba by another Coast Guard vessel.

The Diligence crew also worked with the Honduran Coast Guard in a search and rescue mission after receiving a distress call from a disabled fishing vessel that had been stranded for several days inside Honduran Territorial Seas. The U.S. Coast Guard crew found the Honduran fishing vessel and waited for eight hours until the Honduran Coast Guard arrived to help.

The Diligence law enforcement inspected a vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics for 144 hours and escorted the vessel to Panama while transferring a joint team of Panamanian naval personnel with additional Coast Guard law enforcement crews. The inspection resulted in the seizure of 112 kilograms of cocaine.

The inspection was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States government’s whole-of-government approach to countering the use of Central American waters as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash.

The operation is an international effort focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and Western Hemisphere and European partner agencies to counter illicit trafficking.

Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is a 210 foot medium endurance cutter with an 80 member crew. Diligence’s primary missions consist of counter drug and migrant interdiction, enforcing federal fishery laws, and search and rescue operations.