CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC 617) returned to their homeport at Cape Canaveral on Saturday after a 48-day patrol in the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Straits.
In support of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, Vigilant conducted search and rescue missions for Hurricane Ian off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, and migrant interdiction operations in the Straits of Florida from South, working with multiple Coast Guards and interagency assets to detect, deter, and intercept dangerous and illegal shipping businesses bound for the United States.
During the patrol, Vigilant’s crew intercepted 11 overloaded and unseaworthy vessels carrying 146 Cuban nationals. In one case, Vigilant’s crew rescued 14 adults and a child who had been at sea for six days without food or water. The migrants had survived thanks to the cooling water from the ship’s engine. Vigilant’s crew provided essential first aid, food and water.
In another case, Vigilant’s crew rescued 27 migrants from a sinking ship in high winds and rough seas. Overall, Vigilant’s crew handled 833 Cuban migrants interdicted by various Coast Guard and other Homeland Security Task Forces – Southeast law enforcement entities working in the Straits of Florida.
“This is an incredibly challenging and dynamic mission and I couldn’t be prouder of the resilience, tenacity and professionalism of this crew,” said Cmdr. Jay Guyer, commander of Vigilant. “These migrant maritime journeys are extremely dangerous and we encourage everyone not to set sail in these illegal ventures.”
Vigilant is a 210ft Reliance class medium endurance cutter with a crew of 76. The cutter’s primary missions include counter-narcotics operations, migrant interdiction, federal fisheries enforcement, and search and rescue in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the hemisphere. western. .
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