INGHAM's History -- The Mariel Boatlift

Courtesy of the Coast Guard Historian's Office

INGHAM's largest search and rescue mission came in 1980 after Cuban dictator Fidel Castro opened the port of Mariel, Cuba, letting thousands flee the Communist island. After sailing south to reinforce the Coast Guard presence in the waters between Cuba and Florida, she immediately went to work saving lives. In late-April INGHAM towed five vessels and took on board 14 survivors from swamped boats as a storm battered refugee boats sailing from Cuba. On 11 July INGHAM rescued six Cuban men from a 15-foot wood and rubber raft 70 miles northeast of Havana and transferred them to the CGC Point Batan (WPB-82340). On 12 July 1980 she escorted two Cuban refugee vessels to safety in Key West: the 45-foot cabin cruiser Sea Grape with 100 refugees aboard and a 20-foot pleasure craft with two persons aboard.

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