WILMINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence has returned to its home port in Wilmington after 62 days in the Eastern Pacific. During its patrol, the ship’s crews has been credited for keeping more than $60 million worth of cocaine from reaching United States borders.
The Diligence crew of performed a wide range of U.S. Coast Guard missions during its time at sea, including public affairs in Philadelphia and drug interdiction operations that stretched from Mexico to Panama, according a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard 5th-District, Mid-Atlantic.
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The Diligence crew patrolled in support of the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South in the Eastern Pacific. Along with JIATF South, the U.S. Coast Guard works alongside inter-agency and international partners to prevent and respond to illegal maritime migration and narcotics smuggling from South and Central America.
Law enforcement personnel from Diligence intercepted three high-speed vessels smuggling narcotics, one of which was forced to jettison its contraband before fleeing. The Diligence crew prevented nearly 2,500 kilograms of cocaine — worth more than $60 million — from reaching the United States.
“We’re very proud to have been part of the efforts to combat the flow of illegal drugs to our nation,” Diligence Cmdr. Justin Carter said.
When not conducting law enforcement activities, the crew focused on training in damage control, boat operations, engineering casualty control and ship handling to help many new crew members complete their required shipboard qualifications.
The Diligence crew also went Philadelphia in December 2016 to provide public outreach support during the Independence Seaport Museum’s showcase of a full-scale waterline model of Schooner Diligence, circa 1797.
The model was completed earlier this year and is currently on display in the “Patriots & Pirates” exhibit. The arrival of Diligence provided an example of service history, and crew members gave tours of the ship to 250 people over the weekend.
“It was an exciting patrol, and our crew performed exceptionally during every opportunity to we had to pursue and interdict smugglers at sea, and throughout a deployment that had great challenges. We are thankful to be home and with our families after a great deployment,” Carter said.
The Diligence is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter that calls Wilmington its home port. Its primary missions for the Coast Guard include counter drug and migrant interdiction, enforcing federal fishery laws and search and rescue operations.