Coast Guard repatriates 14 Cuban migrants

US Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke

Cutter Ocracoke - USCG File Photo

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke repatriated 14 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba Monday.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Miami received notification from local police officials that a 36-foot vessel with 14 people and two suspected smugglers aboard was sinking in the vicinity of Old Bahama Channel, north of Cuba, Wednesday. The operator was relaying information via satellite phone to a friend back in Hialeah, Fla., and he was in turn providing this information to Hialeah Police Department officers.

A good Samaritan in the vicinity rescued the 16 people and brought them aboard his vessel Wednesday night. The 14 passengers, later confirmed to be Cuban migrants, were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur and then to the Ocracoke for repatriation.

The two suspected smugglers were transferred to Customs and Border Protection officials in Key West, Fla., Sunday.

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and necessary medical attention before being repatriated.

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 Chandeleur is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Miami.

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