Coast Guard repatriates 55 Cuban migrants

Cuban migrants sit aboard a rustic vessel prior to being intercepted by the Coast Guard, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. The migrants were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber, and given food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Cuban migrants sit aboard a rustic vessel prior to being intercepted by the Coast Guard, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard has repatriated 55 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, since Aug. 12.

The Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo crew repatriated 36 Cuban migrants Tuesday, and the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber crew repatriated 19 Cuban migrants Thursday.

These repatriations are a result of four separate at-sea migrant interdictions in the South Florida Straits. In each instance the Coast Guard helped secure the U.S. border and prevented these sea voyages from ending in tragedy.

“We discourage anyone from taking to the sea and attempting to reach U.S. soil illegally – they are risking their lives with very little chance of success,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District. “Navigating the Florida Straits can be extremely dangerous for the unprepared on illegal voyages and often leads to injury or death.”

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

Attempts by Cuban migrants to reach Southeastern U.S. via the sea have increased more than 100% in July from the same time last year.  The total number of Cuban migrants taking to the sea in July 2015 was 410 and 834 in 2016.

Since Oct. 1, at least 6,142 Cubans attempted to migrate to the U.S. via maritime means compared to 4,473 in fiscal year 2015.  These statistics represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

The cutters are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in Key West.

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