Coast Guard rescues, repatriates 114 Haitian migrants

Caribbean Sea - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant rescued 114 Haitian migrants from their grossly overloaded sailing vessel off Great Inagua, Bahamas, May 10, 2011.  U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard photo.

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant repatriated 114 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Thursday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew located a 60-foot sail freighter northwest of Great Inagua, Bahamas, Monday. The aircrew vectored in the crew of the Vigilant, who distributed lifejackets to the 114 Haitian migrants on the grossly overloaded vessel and embarked them aboard the cutter.

“There is nothing more satisfying to a crew than knowing you helped save 114 lives from the dangers of the sea while at the same time protecting our borders from illegal immigration,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Smith, a Vigilant crewmember.

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

The Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla.

For information about 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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