Coast Guard repatriates 50 Cuban migrants

Southeastern Coast Guard News
MIAMI — Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber repatriated 50 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Monday.

This repatriation was a result of four separate migrant interdiction events on Aug. 28.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., received a report from Customs and Border Protection that they located a rustic vessel with 21 people aboard south of Key West.  The Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne was diverted to the scene, launched their smallboat crew, and safely embarked all migrants.

The second migrant interdiction occurred after sector Key West watchstanders received a report from a good Samaritan stating they were on scene with a raft that had 12 migrants aboard south of Dry Tortugas, Fla. The cutter Key Biscayne was diverted to the scene, and her crew safely embarked the migrants.

The third migrant interdiction occurred after sector Key West watchstanders received a 911 relay from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office of a vessel in distress south of Boot Key, Fla. A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Marathon, Fla., was launched, arrived on scene, and safely embarked eight migrants from a 21-foot raft.

The fourth interdiction occurred after sector Key West watchstanders were notified by a good Samaritan that they located a raft with nine Cuban migrants aboard east of Delray Beach, Fla. Fort Lauderdale Police Department and Boca Raton Police Department arrived on scene and embarked the migrants. The nine migrants were later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin.

The 50 migrants were then transferred to the cutter Bernard C. Webber for repatriation.

“Our main concern is the safety of life at sea. When migrants put their lives in the hands of smugglers, or take to the sea aboard unseaworthy vessels, they put their lives at grave risk,” said Capt. Mark Fedor, chief of response enforcement. “Attempting to cross the Florida Straits in a homemade raft or vessel is inherently dangerous. These 50 migrants were without a doubt rescued from the perils of the sea.”

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

The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber is a 154-foot fast response cutter, homeported in Miami.

The Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne is a 110-foot Island Class cutter homeported in Key West.

The Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin is a 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Miami.

The cutter Bernard C. Webber is one of the 58 new, Sentinel-class fast response cutters replacing the Island-class patrol boats. The FRC will be capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and operating in seas up to 18-feet. The speed and stability of the FRC deliver tremendous lifesaving, law enforcement and homeland security capabilities in the same package.

For more information on how to legally immigrate to the U.S., 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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