Coast Guard interdicts, repatriates 30 Cuban, 5 Haitian migrants

A Coast Guard HC-144 aircraft

HC-144 USCG file photo

MIAMI – The Coast Guard repatriated 30 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, including 23 on Sunday and seven on Wednesday.

Five Haitian migrants were returned to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday.

The Coast Guard interdicted the 30 Cuban migrants and five Haitian migrants during several separate cases since February 2:

On Feb. 2, 2011 a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft crew located a rustic vessel approximately 28 miles north of Mariel, Cuba. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Knight Island interdicted the rustic vessel and brought aboard the seven Cuban migrants.

On Feb. 3, 2011 a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew located a rustic vessel about 52 miles south of Key West. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne was diverted from their patrol to intercept the vessel. Once on scene, the Key Biscayne crew safely embarked the 15 Cuban migrants.

On Saturday a good Samaritan notified watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West Saturday that he was on scene with two male Cuban migrants aboard a rustic vessel about 40 miles southeast of Key West. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke arrived on scene and safely embarked the two Cuban migrants.

On Sunday, the cruise ship Disney Magic notified watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., with the report of a raft with five male Cuban migrants aboard about 21 miles southeast of Key West. A smallboat crew from Coast Guard Station Key West arrived on scene and safely embarked the five Cuban migrants.

In other events, five Haitian migrants were interdicted and repatriated to Cap Haitien, Haiti, and one Cuban migrant was interdicted and repatriated to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.

“U.S. Coast Guard policy is to deter and respond to dangerous, disorderly and illegal maritime migration by intercepting vessels that pursue perilous and illegal voyages, said Capt. Steven Banks, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of enforcement. “We continue to maintain a robust presence of cutters and aircraft throughout the Caribbean to respond to illegal migration and migrant smuggling activities.”

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, migrants are provided food, water, shelter and basic medical care.

For information on how to legally immigrate to the United States, call U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at 1-800-375-5283 or visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

The Ocracoke is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Key Biscayne is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.
The Knight Island is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.

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