Coast Guard Repatriates 65 Cuban Migrants

MIAMI – The Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur repatriated 65 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabanãs, Cuba, Wednesday, who were interdicted during four separate incidents since Jan. 9.

A Customs and Border Protection fixed-wing aircraft located a go-fast vessel while conducting a law enforcement patrol Thursday. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Drummond was notified and interdicted the vessel 18 miles northwest of Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas. The go-fast vessel was carrying 17 men, three women and one child. Two suspected smugglers were transferred to CBP officials in Key West, Fla.

The Cutter Northland located a rustic vessel 19 miles southeast of Marathon, Fla., Wednesday. Crewmembers aboard a small boat from Station Marathon recovered and transferred 14 men and three women from the rustic vessel to the Cutter Reliance.

The crew of the Cutter Sawfish located a go-fast carrying 28 people Wednesday. Using the cutter’s small boat, the crew pursued and interdicted the vessel 68 miles southwest of Key West. Two suspected smugglers and the go-fast vessel were later transferred to CBP officials in Key West. Two migrants will be transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Sector Miami watchstanders received a call from the Key Biscayne Police Department reporting 20 to 30 people in the water near Cape Florida Lighthouse on Key Biscayne, Fla., Jan. 1. A HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Miami was immediately launched to conduct a search. Crews from Station Miami Beach and officers from the KBPD marine unit recovered 17 migrants from the water and U.S. Border Protection officials detained 11 who swam to shore. Both groups of migrants stated they did not believe that any migrants were unaccounted for, however, the body of a deceased man was located on Jan. 4 near Stiltsville, Fla., that was subsequently identified as a migrant from that group.

During the first 15 days of 2008 Coast Guard crews have interdicted 203 Cuban migrants attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.

The Cutter Northland is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.
The Cutter Reliance is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, N.H.
The Cutter Sawfish is an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.
The cutters Drummond is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.
The Cutter Chandeleur is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Miami.

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