Coast Guard repatriates 19 Haitian migrants

Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak

USCGC Sitkinak file photo

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Confidence repatriated 19 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday morning.

Early Monday, a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine aircraft reported they located a 40-foot U.S.-flagged vessel about 32 miles east of Delray Beach, Fla. Crew members from Coast Guard Cutter Bluefin interdicted the vessel and discovered 31 migrants and two suspected smugglers aboard. The 31 migrants, which included two Sri Lankans, four Jamaican, six Brazilians and 19 Haitians were safely transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke along with the two suspected smugglers. The two suspected smugglers are U.S. citizens. The Cutter Ocracoke crew then safely transferred the migrants and suspected smugglers to the Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak.

Tuesday, the two suspected smugglers, two Sri Lankans, four Jamaican and six Brazilians were transferred ashore to CBP officials for further processing. Wednesday, the 19 Haitian migrants were safely transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Confidence for repatriation. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations special agents took the two alleged smugglers into custody.

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical care.

The cutter Confidence is a 210-foot Medium Endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla.

The cutter Bluefin is an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Fort Pierce, Fla.

The Ocracoke is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Sitkinak is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Miami.

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