Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. repatriates 58 Cuban migrants

Four Cuban migrants sit aboard their rustic sailing vessel prior to being interdicted by the Coast Guard in the Florida Straits March 2016. The migrants were subsequently repatriated to Bahia de Cabanas, Cuba, by the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr., March 23, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Four Cuban migrants sit aboard their rustic sailing vessel prior to being interdicted by the Coast Guard in the Florida Straits March 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr., a 154-foot fast response cutter, repatriated 58 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Wednesday.

These repatriations are a result of seven separate migrant interdictions at sea within the last week in the south Florida Straits. In each instance, the Coast Guard helped secure the U.S. border and prevented these perilous sea voyages from ending in tragedy.

“Safety of life at sea continues to be the Coast Guard’s primary concern” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District. “The dangerous waters of the Florida Straits can be unforgiving for the unprepared on ill advised and illegal voyages. Immigration policies have not changed and we urge people not to take to the ocean in unseaworthy vessels.  It is illegal and extremely dangerous.”

The Coast Guard has observed a steady increase in illegal maritime migration attempts from Cuba to the Southeastern U.S. since the U.S. announcement of normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014, nearly 15 months ago.

Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 2,562 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

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