A Coast Guard crewman aboard a Coast Guard cutter gives food to Haitian migrants interdicted at sea. US Coast Guard photo
MIAMI, USA -- US Coast Guard crews aboard the cutters Charles David Jr. and Valiant repatriated 86 migrants illegally migrating from Cuba and Haiti.
These repatriations are a result of five separate interdictions of people attempting to illegally migrate to the United States through the Florida Straits stemming back to last Sunday.
On August 21, the crew of the Coast Guard cutter William Flores interdicted 24 Haitian migrants (12 males, nine females, three infants) north of Grand Bahama, Bahamas. Sixteen of the migrants were reported to have jumped into the water but were subsequently rescued by the motor vessel Cap Guillame and the William Flores. All 24 migrants were safely transferred to the William Flores and were given a medical evaluation. The migrants remained aboard until their repatriation Saturday by the Coast Guard cutter Valiant. The Coast Guard also turned over an Ecuadorian and Bahamian national to Bahamian authorities.
In a span of a week in the south Florida Straits, Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection units located and interdicted 62 Cuban migrants from unseaworthy, homemade vessels in three separate interdictions. The Coast Guard cutters Charles Sexton, Charles David Jr., and Key Biscayne embarked all the migrants due to safety of life at sea concerns and later transferred them to the Coast Guard cutter Tampa where they all received medical attention, food and water.
The Charles David Jr. repatriated the 62 migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, on Thursday and Saturday.
"Along with our Department of Homeland Security and international partners, the Coast Guard continues to robustly patrol the Florida Straits and Caribbean Sea to prevent migrants from taking the perilous and illegal maritime journey to the United States. Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, we will seek to quickly repatriate illegal migrants to their respective countries," said Capt Mark Gordon, chief of response enforcement for the Seventh Coast Guard District in Miami.
In fiscal year 2014, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 5,025 Haitians, 3,326 Cubans and 539 Dominicans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter all migrants receive food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention.