Coast Guard repatriates 97 Cuban migrants

The Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark interdicted a chug with 11 Cuban migrants east of Delray Beach Friday, July 29, 2016. The 11 Cuban migrants were repatriated to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark.

The Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark interdicted a chug with 11 Cuban migrants east of Delray Beach Friday, July 29, 2016. The 11 Cuban migrants were repatriated to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark.

MIAMI — The Coast Guard repatriated 97 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, since July 30.

The Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans crew repatriated 32 Cuban migrants Sunday; the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo crew repatriated 35 Cuban migrants Wednesday; and the Coast Guard Cutter William Trump repatriated 30 Cuban migrants on Saturday.

These repatriations are a result of seven 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 July 2016.

Since Oct. 1, at least 5,786 Cubans attempted to migrate to the U.S. via the maritime environment 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 Raymond Evans, Isaac Mayo and William Trump are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in Key West.

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