US Coast Guard repatriates 60 migrants to Cuba and Dominican Republic
MIAMI – The crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter William Trump repatriated 17 migrants on Monday to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, while the Cutter Joseph Tezanos crew repatriated 41 Dominican migrants and two Haitian migrants on Sunday to the Dominican Republic.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West command center received a report from a good Samaritan on Friday of a rustic vessel with 15 people aboard. The watchstanders diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans (WPC-1110), a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft crew and a Coast Guard Station Marathon 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boatcrew from patrols to intercept the vessel. A Customs and Border Protection 39-foot Midnight Express Interceptor crew also assisted.
After making the interdiction, the Station Marathon boatcrew embarked ten migrants while the Midnight Express Interceptor boatcrew embarked the other seven. They then transferred the 15 males and two females aboard the cutter Raymond Evans and later to the cutter William Trump.
“This interdiction was a result of several factors, but the key components are the expertise and communication between Coast Guard units and the CBP in the Florida Keys,” said Lt. Patrick Frost, commanding officer of the Raymond Evans. “The journey by rustic vessel undertaken by persons attempting to migrate illegally from Cuba to the United States is highly hazardous, and this is as much a safety issue as it is a law enforcement issue.”
Approximately 274 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally migrate to the US via the maritime environment since October 1 compared to 1,989 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2017. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, Caribbean and Atlantic.
Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos crew repatriated 41 Dominican migrants and two Haitian migrants Sunday to the Dominican Republic.
The repatriation is a combination of two separate interdiction cases, which Customs and Border Protection aircrews and Coast Guard cutter crews located and rescued these migrants.
The latest interdiction took place at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Thursday after the crew of a patrolling Customs and Border Protection DH-8 Bombardier aircraft sighted an overloaded migrant boat, approximately 8 miles southwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon, which arrived on scene and interdicted the migrant vessel. Following the interdiction, the crew of the Richard Dixon embarked 17 men and two women of Dominican nationality.
On Thursday morning, the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon interdicted a second migrant vessel, transiting with 37 people aboard, approximately 5 miles north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Richard Dixon crew provided lifejackets to the migrants and embarked 30 men and five woman of Dominican nationality, and two men of Haitian nationality aboard the cutter.
The Joseph Tezanos crew repatriated 43 of the migrants on Sunday afternoon near Santo Domingo. Thirteen migrants were transferred to Puerto Rico; one migrant was medevaced after suffering from symptoms of an allergic reaction, and 12 migrants were transferred facing potential federal criminal immigration charges for attempted illegal reentry into the US.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
Photo: A Customs and Border Protection agent tosses a life vest over to Cubans migrants on a rustic vessel near Marathon, Florida, August 10, 2018. The Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection worked together to interdict 17 illegal Cuban migrants and repatriate them back to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba. Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray/US Coast Guard