Coast Guard repatriates 202 Haitian migrants

Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma smallboat crews approach a 50-foot sail freighter to interdict the 115 Haitian migrants aboard 33 miles east of Great Inagua, Bahamas, Mar. 12, 2018. The Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma crew repatriated 202 Haitian migrants Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018 to Cap Haitian, Haiti. US Coast Guard photo courtesy Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma.

Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma smallboat crews approach a 50-foot sail freighter to interdict the 115 Haitian migrants aboard 33 miles east of Great Inagua, Bahamas, Mar. 12, 2018.  Photo courtesy Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma.

MIAMI — The Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma crew repatriated 202 Haitian migrants Wednesday to Cap Haitian, Haiti.

The repatriation is a combination of two separate interdiction cases, which Coast Guard aircrews and cutter crews located and rescued these migrants.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew located an overloaded 50-foot freighter Sunday approximately 30 miles east of Great Inagua Island, Bahamas. The cutter Tahoma crew was diverted to the scene, and safely interdicted and embarked 86 migrants. In addition, the Tahoma crew interdicted another overloaded 50-foot Haitian sail freighter with 115 migrants aboard Monday 33 miles east of Great Inagua, Bahamas with assistance by a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew deployed to Great Inagua.

“The waters of the Caribbean and Florida Straits are dangerous and unforgiving for migrants on illegal voyages, in overloaded vessels with little or no safety gear, needlessly placing lives at risk,” said Rear Adm. Peter Brown, commander of Coast Guard 7th District. “The Coast Guard and its partner agencies continue to maintain a strong presence along our maritime border and will continue to interdict and rescue those who embark on these illegal and ill-advised voyages in these unsafe vessels.”

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

Approximately 1,040 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally migrate to the U.S. via the maritime environment since Oct. 1 compared to 1,869 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2017. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

The cutter Tahoma is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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