Diligence crew returning home; patrol included migrant rescues

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

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is returning home today following a 59-day patrol in the Florida Straits. Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is returning home Saturday following a 59-day patrol in the Florida Straits, where they helped rescue 20 migrants. Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is scheduled to return home this Saturday following a 59-day patrol in the Florida Straits.

During the patrol, the Wilmington-based ship carried out migrant interdiction operations, rescuing 20 migrants from three unseaworthy vessels, according to Cutter Diligence Public Affairs Officer Ensign Elizabeth Runci.

The humanitarian and law enforcement missions were carried out in support of Operation Vigilant Sentry and Operation Blue Hammer, which focuses on migrant interdiction and repatriation operations in the Florida Straits, Runci said. Working with agency partners, the Diligence helped coordinate the rescue and care for an additional 220 migrants from 16 other vessels.

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, the 180th Airlift Squadron of the Missouri Air National Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, and several Florida state and local law enforcement agencies.

Now that the crew has wrapped up their missions, the Cutter Diligence is scheduled to return to its homeport located at 109 N. Water St. in downtown Wilmington at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.