Coast Guard repatriates 11 Cuban migrants

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsMIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island repatriated 11 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Thursday.

The 11 Cuban migrants were interdicted at sea during two separate cases.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., received notification from Carnival Cruise Ship Destiny of a rustic vessel with eight Cuban migrants aboard, south of Key West, Sept. 30. The Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba crew was diverted and safely embarked the eight Cuban migrants. The eight migrants were all later transferred to the Pea Island for repatriation.

Watchstanders at Sector Key West received notification from a good Samaritan who located three Cuban migrants. The good Samaritan safely retrieved the three migrants out of the water. Coast Guard Station Key West and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection patrol boat crews recovered the three persons from the good Samaritans’ vessels. All three migrants were later transferred to the Pea Island for repatriation.

“Migrants attempting to illegally enter the United States by boat often travel aboard dangerously overloaded and ill-equipped vessels,” said, Capt. Brendan McPherson, 7th Coast Guard District chief of enforcement. “People aboard these vessels are putting their lives at extreme risk, so the Coast Guard with our partner agencies will continue to patrol vigilantly to rescue and repatriate undocumented migrants who take to the sea.”

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

Medium endurance cutters like the Escanaba, are slated for replacement by new Offshore Patrol Cutters. The new OPCs will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners, superior to the cutters they replace. Equipped with modern sensors, the OPCs will provide the enhanced surveillance necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guard’s homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.

The Pea Island and other Island-class patrol boats are being replaced by 58 new, Sentinel-class fast response cutters. The FRC will be capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and operating in seas up to 18-feet. The FRC delivers tremendous lifesaving, law enforcement and homeland security capabilities in the same package.

The cutter Pea Island is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West, Fla.

The cutter Escanaba is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Boston.

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