Coast Guard Interdicts 234 Haitian Migrants in 2 Days

MIAMI – Coast Guard crews currently patrolling waters near Great Inagua, Bahamas interdicted 123 Haitian migrants yesterday, bringing the total number of Haitian migrants interdicted since Tuesday to 234.

Yesterday, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Decisive interdicted 123 Haitian migrants from a 35-foot sail freighter 23 miles west of Great Inagua. An H-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., remained on scene while crewmembers from the Decisive safely rescued all 134 migrants from the dangerously overloaded vessel.

On Tuesday, an HU-25 Falcon jet from Air Station Miami on a law enforcement patrol spotted a grossly overloaded 45-foot Haitian sail freighter seven miles south of Great Inagua. The Falcon jet crew as well as an H-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater continued to monitor the vessel until the Cutter Decisive was on scene. Once on scene, crews from the Decisive confirmed 111 Haitians were on board the vessel with no life jackets, navigational gear, navigational lights or VHF radio.

“The Coast Guard saved 234 lives at sea — lives that were needlessly imperiled,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, public affairs officer for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “These interdictions highlight how dangerous attempts to enter the United States illegally from the sea can be. Both of these vessels were grossly overloaded and lacked adequate safety equipment. Had we not interdicted these boats, those 234 people could very well have perished at sea. We cannot stress enough that there is a controlled, safe and legal means of migration to the United States. Migrants attempting to enter the United States via maritime routes must understand that in doing so they place themselves in extreme danger.”

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