MIAMI – The Coast Guard repatriated 153 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Wednesday.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore repatriated 78 Cuban migrants and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans repatriated 75 Cuban migrants.
These repatriations are a result of eight separate migrant interdictions at sea within the last week in the south Florida Straits. In each instance, the Coast Guard helped secure the U.S. border and prevented these perilous sea voyages from ending in tragedy.
“Safety of life at sea continues to be the Coast Guard’s primary concern,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District. “The dangerous waters of the Florida Straits can be unforgiving for the unprepared on ill advised and illegal voyages. Immigration policies have not changed and we urge people not to take to the ocean in unseaworthy vessels. It is illegal and extremely dangerous.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
Attempts by Cuban migrants to reach Southeastern U.S. via the sea has increased 155% in May from the same time last year. The total number of Cuban migrants taking to the sea in May 2016 totaled 673.
Since Oct. 1, at least 4,176 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate to the U.S. via the maritime environment compared to 4,473 in 2015. These statistics represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
The Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore and the Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported out of Key West, Florida.
These repatriations did not include the group of Cuban migrants interdicted at the American Shoal Light on May 20, 2016.