On Sunday, the cruise ship Carnival Sensation reported a rustic vessel with 22 suspected Cuban migrants aboard south of Dry Tortugas, Florida. The Carnival Sensation shadowed the rustic vessel until the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo arrived on scene and safely embarked all of the migrants. No medical concerns were reported.
“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies continue to diligently patrol the waters around the United States to deter illegal migrant activity,” said Capt. Mark Fedor, chief of response for the Coast Guard 7th District. “Our main concern is the safety of life at sea. When migrants put their lives in the hands of smugglers, or take to the sea aboard unseaworthy vessels, they put their lives at grave risk.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
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.
Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 3,029 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. This number represents the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
The Coast Guard Cutter William Trump and the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported out of Key West, Florida.