US Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant crew returns home after Caribbean patrol

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The 210-ft US Coast Guard VIGILANT (WMEC-617)

CAPE CANAVERAL, USA,— The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant returned home Sunday to Cape Canaveral after a two-month Caribbean patrol.

The crew’s patrol focused on enforcing US federal laws by conducting boardings of US and international vessels throughout the Caribbean basin, while working with other government agencies and international partners, to increase national security.

While on patrol, the crew ensured the safe return of 50 Haitian migrants to their home country after their illegal and dangerous voyage was disrupted by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered, a fast-response cutter homeported in Miami. The crew was also involved in a search for a person reported to be in the water after falling overboard from his sailing vessel.

The Vigilant crew interdicted a go-fast vessel illegally smuggling 7,800 lbs of garlic from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. Garlic smuggling is a global issue on the rise and has had negative impacts on the agricultural industry in the Dominican Republic in the last few years. Upon hearing of the interdiction, the Dominican Navy sent a ship to meet the Vigilant to take over the case for the prosecution. The contraband was valued at approximately $30,000 and was the largest Coast Guard seizure of its kind.

During their 59-day patrol, the crew strengthened multiple international and domestic partnerships by working with agencies including the Jamaican Defense Force, Royal Bahamian Defense Force, Dominican Navy, US Drug Enforcement Agency and the US Navy.

The Vigilant is a multi-mission 210-foot medium endurance cutter whose missions include illegal drug and migrant interdiction, as well as search and rescue. The Vigilant patrols throughout the Caribbean basin and Atlantic seaboard to ensure safety of life at sea and enforce international and domestic laws.

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