Coast Guard Repatriates 243 Haitians

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk repatriated 243 Haitian migrants to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday.

The aircrew of an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., deployed to Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, located a sail-freighter with an unknown number of people aboard, approximately 45 miles southwest of Great Inagua, Sunday. The crew of the Mohawk arrived on scene that night, but due to safety concerns, decided to wait until morning before attempting to transfer the migrants. The next morning, the Mohawk crew launched two small boats and embarked the 163 Haitian migrants from the vessel which was then approximately 20 miles northwest of Santo Domingo Cay, Bahamas.

The Mohawk’s crew located a sail freighter with 80 Haitian migrants aboard 11 miles southeast of Great Inagua, Saturday. The crew of the Mohawk distributed life jackets to the migrants before transferring them from the grossly overloaded vessel to the cutter.

“This case demonstrates the multi-mission capabilities of OPBAT,” said Lt. Lyle Serber, deputy director of the OPBAT operations center. “Though our primary role is still to support the DEA and their war on drugs, it has expanded to basically include all of the Coast Guard’s primary missions.”

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants are provided food, water, shelter and any necessary medical attention.

The Mohawk is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.

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