Coast Guard Repatriates 91 Cuban Migrants

MIAMI РThe crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Marlin and Cutter Sawfish repatriated 91 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Caba̱as, Cuba today at 2 p.m.

On January 5, nine Cuban migrants were located approximately three miles south of Marquesas, Fla. They were picked up by a Coast Guard crew from Station Key West, Fla. The migrants were later transferred to the Cutter Dauntless. At the request of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service, one of the nine migrants will be taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for further disposition.

A Good Samaritan located a rustic vessel with 17 Cuban migrants on board taking on water 85 miles southwest of Grand Cayman. The Good Samaritan contacted the Coast Guard and brought all migrants on board. They were later transfered to the Cutter Decisive.

On January 6, the Tornado spotted a rustic vessel 55 miles south of Dry Tortugas, Fla., with 15 Cuban migrants on board.

On January 7, the Coast Guard Cutter Sawfish interdicted a go-fast vessel 15 miles southeast of Islamorada, Fla. Coast Guard crews from Station Marathon, Fla., and Station Islamorada were dispatched to assist the Sawfish crew. Once a boarding team from the Sawfish boarded the go fast, they located 29 Cuban migrants. All the migrants were transferred to the cutter Dauntless.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tornado located an inflatable raft with seven Cuban migrants on board approximately 12 miles southwest of Marquesas. Three of the migrants had serious self-inflicted wounds and were transported to Lower Keys Memorial Hospital in Key West for further treatment.

On January 8, the crew of an HC-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., located a rustic vessel with 10 Cuban migrants on board approximately 18 miles south of Key West. The cutter Dauntless was dispatched to that location and embarked all the migrants.

A Good Samaritan located a rustic vessel with eight Cuban migrants tied to a crab pod 18 miles northeast of Dry Tortugas. Coast Guard Cutter Marlin was diverted to intercept the migrants, once on scene the crew of the Marlin embarked all the migrants.

“Throughout 2007, we will continue to maintain our robust presence in the Florida Straits and Caribbean with our assets as needed,” said Cmdr. Howard White, assistant chief of law enforcement for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “The Coast Guard, and it’s Department of Homeland Security partners, reiterate our important message that attempts to illegally enter the U.S. from the sea are inherently dangerous and have resulted in serious injury and death. The Coast Guard will continue to aggressively enforce U.S. government policy by interdicting undocumented aliens at sea.”

Once on board Coast Guard cutters, all migrants receive food, water and any necessary medical treatment.

The cutter Dauntless is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Galveston, Tx.

The cutter Decisive is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Pascagoula, Miss.

The cutter Tornado is a 179-foot cyclone class patrol coastal boat homeported in Pascagoula, Miss.

The cutter Sawfish is an 87-foot patrol boat homeborted in Key West, Fla.

The cutter Marlin is an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

Source: USCG D7 Public Affairs

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