Coast Guard repatriates 48 Cuban migrants

CARIBBEAN SEA - Nine Cuban migrants aboard a rustic vessel were located by the crew of the cruise ship Navigator of the Seas north of Havana, May 1, 2011. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

MIAMI – The Coast Guard interdicted 59 Cuban migrants at sea during nine separate cases since April 28, 48 of whom were repatriated to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.

The nine cases occurred between April 28 and May 1.

  • Personnel from the cruise ship Navigator of the Seas located a rustic vessel with nine Cuban migrants aboard north of Havana May 1. The Cuban migrants were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island crew interdicted two Cuban migrants on a rustic vessel south of Key West, Fla., April 30.
  • A good Samaritan located a rustic vessel with five Cuban migrants aboard south of Islamorada April 30. A Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Fla., boatcrew embarked the five Cuban migrants.
  • The cutter Pea Island crew interdicted a rustic vessel with 21 Cuban migrants aboard south of Islamorada April 30.
  • The crew of the motor vessel Vegaland located a rustic vessel with four Cuban migrants aboard south of Key West April 28. A CBP Air and Marine Branch boatcrew relocated the rustic vessel and the crew of the cutter Pea Island embarked the Cuban migrants.
  • A Station Islamorada boatcrew interdicted a rustic vessel with five Cuban migrants aboard southeast of Islamorada April 28.
  • Five Cuban migrants aboard a rustic vessel were located by the crew of the Discoverer America south of Islamorada April 28. The Cuban migrants were embarked by the cutter Mohawk crew.
  • Two Cuban migrants on a rustic vessel were located by the crew of the Discoverer America south of Key West April 28. They were embarked by a Coast Guard Station Marathon, Fla., boatcrew.
  • The crew of the cutter Mohawk interdicted a rustic vessel with six Cuban migrants aboard south of Marathon April 28.

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket transferred nine of the migrants to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for further processing Monday. Two legal permanent residents were brought ashore. Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Kodiak Island repatriated 31 of the migrants on Sunday. Crewmembers of the cutter Pea Island repatriated 17 of the migrants on Thursday.

“Illegal migrants sailing aboard these unseaworthy vessels are putting their lives at extreme risk,” said Capt. Peter Brown, chief of response operations for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “There have been far too many cases where people have died while making these unsafe sea voyages. Our primary concern is always for the safety of migrants in distress at sea, so the Coast Guard will continue to patrol to find and rescue migrants from these unsafe situations, as well as protect our nation’s borders by deterring dangerous and illegal activity. We are also grateful for the professional and recreational mariners who assist vessels and people in distress.”

Since Oct. 1, 2010, a total of 365 Cuban migrants have been interdicted by the Coast Guard, including 125 in April. From Oct. 1, 2009, to May 1, 2010, 135 Cuban migrants were interdicted by the Coast Guard.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants are provided with food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

The Mohawk is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West.
The Pea Island is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.
The Nantucket is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Kodiak Island is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.

For more 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.

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