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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Wilmington welcomes Diligence home after assisting two-ton cocaine bust in hurricane ravaged Caribbean

The United States Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to port after an intense two month mission in the hurricane ravaged Caribbean. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY U.S. COAST GUARD)
The United States Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to port after an intense two month mission in the hurricane ravaged Caribbean. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY U.S. COAST GUARD)

WILMINGTON — The United States Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned to the Port City after more than two months in the “Windward Passage” between Haiti and Cuba. The mission included delivering to authorities a large tanker smuggling cocaine.

According to the Coast Guard, the Diligence assisted after a 225-foot tanker was stopped in the Caribbean and tow it 1,000 miles to St. Petersburg, Florida. The tanker had nine suspected drug traffickers and 1,900 kilograms of cocaine – over two tons – aboard.

While towing the tanker, which had no power of its own, the Diligence was forced to avoid Hurricane Irma, as the powerful storm passed through the Caribbean and struck Florida.

According to the Coast Guard, illegal migrants and drug traffickers have been taking advantage of natural disasters, including Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Part of Diligence’s mission is to counteract those efforts.

Commander Rob Mohr, commanding officer of the Diligence, said he was “thoroughly impressed” with the crew during the demanding mission.

“From start to finish, they exceeded all expectations and adapted remarkably to a multitude of schedule changes as a result of this busy hurricane season. I couldn’t be more proud of the crew,” Mohr said.

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