Coast Guard Cutter returns after assisting stranded cruise ship - NBC40.net

Coast Guard Cutter returns after assisting stranded cruise ship

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CAPE MAY -

Members aboard a Coast Guard Cutter that helped those stranded on the "Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph," returned home after two months at sea.

"A great feeling to come home and see them waiting for me on the pier."

It's been two months since these men and women could hug their children, and kiss their loved ones, but leaving their family behind is something these Coast Guard members have to do to help others in need.

"That's just something we do on a regular basis. It felt good to be on scene and give people a peace of mind that we were there," said James Lacagnina of the Coast Guard Cape May.

The 72 members aboard the Coast Guard Cutter "Vigorous" were called into duty when an engine fire left the Carnival Cruise Ship "Triumph" stranded in the Gulf of Mexico in February.

However this was not the original destination for those on board.

"We departed on a 60 day patrol originally going to the Southern Caribbean to encounter drugs and interdict drug smugglers," said Commanding Officer of "Vigorous", Greg Magee.

While in the Caribbean "Vigorous" received the distress calls, and changed their course to perform a 6- day escort to make sure those on board the cruise ship had enough supplies, including food and water to survive.

For the most part the Coast Guard members did not interact with those aboard the cruise ship, only in emergency situations.

In one scenario the Coast Guard had to use a boat to get a passenger needing dialysis off and onto another ship to get to land.

"We attempted that first night to coordinate a medical evacuation but it wasn't safe at the time," said Magee. "The next day we had another cruise ship going into port, we used a small boat to transfer that individual from the "Triumph" to the other boat."

And after 6 weeks a float, these men and women hope to reconnect with those who waited patiently for their return before they set sail once again.

While away the Coast Guard "Vigorous" also assisted in search and rescues, alien migration interdiction, and community service.

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