Coast Guard, Dominican Republic Navy Shiprider repatriate 11 La Romana, Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus and a Dominican Republic Navy Shiprider repatriated 11 Dominican migrants to La Romana, Dominican Republic Friday afternoon.

The migrants were interdicted at-sea by Caribbean Border Interagency law enforcement authorities Thursday.

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection fixed-wing aircraft located a migrant vessel Thursday morning, while patrolling waters approximately 42 nautical miles north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The migrants were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic aboard a 20-foot grossly overloaded wooden yola, and reportedly had been at sea for more than six days after their yola became disabled and adrift.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan controllers diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus and an Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to interdict the yola.

The crew of the Matinicus, operating with a Dominican Republic Navy Shiprider onboard, interdicted the migrant vessel and safely embarked eight men and three women. Once onboard the cutter, the crew of the Matinicus collected the biographic information, including digital fingerprints and facial photographs from the interdicted migrants.

The crew of the Matinicus repatriated all 11 migrants at 2 p.m. Friday, when they turned custody over to Dominican Republic Naval authorities in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

The concept of CBIG resulted from a March 2006 collaboration of local Homeland Security components that effectively stemmed the increased flow of traffic across the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In July 2006, CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air & Marine (A&M), Office of Field Operations (OFO), and Office of Border Patrol (OBP), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the United States Attorney ‘ s Office, District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action (FURA) in their common goal of securing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal maritime traffic and gaining control of our nation’s Caribbean borders.

Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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