USCGC Diligence (WMEC-616)
USCGC Diligence in 2002
|Builder:||Todd Shipyards, Houston, Texas|
|Acquired:||20 July 1963|
|Homeport:||Wilmington, North Carolina|
|Length:||210 ft 6 in (64.16 m)|
|Beam:||34 ft (10 m)|
|Draft:||10 ft 6 in (3.20 m) max|
|Propulsion:||2 x V16 2550 horsepower ALCO diesel engines|
|Speed:||max 18 knots; 2,700 mile range|
|Range:||cruise 14 knots; 6,100 mile range|
|Complement:||12 officers, 63 enlisted|
|Sensors and |
|2 x AN/SPS-64|
|Aircraft carried:||HH-65 Dolphin|
USCGC Diligence (WMEC-616) is a Reliance-class United States Coast Guard 210-foot medium endurance cutter, and is the second of 16 built from 1962 to 1968. Fourteen of this class cutter are still in active U.S. service, and two have been transferred to foreign navies.
All Reliance-class cutters were built with dual shafts and controllable pitch propellers, and were capable of speeds up to 18 knots.
Diligence moors up in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, and is the 6th US Coast Guard Cutter to bear that name and be homeported in Wilmington, which is one of only twenty-one cities in the country with the designation of "A Coast Guard City". Diligence is capable of performing any of the missions that white-hulled Coast Guard Cutters traditionally perform, ranging from alien migrant interdiction operations (AMIO) and drug interdiction missions down in the Caribbean, to fisheries protection of the Atlantic seaboard, to search and rescue (SAR) anywhere in between. The SAR capabilities are enhanced by utilizing helicopters to extend the reach of the cutters well beyond the horizon.
On April 23, 1982, the Diligence was attacked by the navy of the newly declared Conch Republic when Key West announced that day that it was seceding from the Union in a dispute over a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock and inspection point further up the Florida Keys in front of Skeeter's Last Chance Saloon. The sailing Schooner "Western Union", under command of Captain John Kraus, went forth into the harbor at Key West and attacked the cutter with water balloons, Conch fritters and stale Cuban bread. The Diligence fought back with fire hoses, and thus commenced the "Great Battle of the Conch Republic." Vastly outgunned, the Conch Republic's Prime Minister (Mayor Dennis Wardlow) promptly surrendered to a man dressed in a naval uniform, and requested one billion dollars in foreign aid from the United States government. The roadblock was quietly removed by the Border Patrol after the great publicity that was generated.
- Todd Shipyards Archived 25 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- "WPC's & WMEC's: 1945-2000". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- A brief history of the Conch Republic Archived 2 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "The Proud History of the Conch Republic". www.conchrepublicmilitaryforces.com. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
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