Coast Guard rescues, repatriates 35 Haitian migrants

CARIBBEAN SEA - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk repatriated 35 Haitian migrants, interdicted May 19, 2011, to Cap Haitien, Haiti, May 20, 2011.  U.S. Coast Guard photo

U.S. Coast Guard photo

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk repatriated 35 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday.

While on routine patrol, crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant spotted a Bahamian-flagged 28-foot vessel without navigation lights northwest of Port de Paix, Haiti, Thursday. Once Vigilant crewmembers arrived on scene with the vessel, they discovered 35 Haitian and two Indian migrants aboard. The migrants were safely transferred from the 28-foot vessel to the Vigilant.

The 35 Haitian migrants were subsequently transferred to the Mohawk for repatriation.

The vessel and two Indian migrants were turned over to Royal Bahamas Defence Force officials in Great Inagua, Bahamas, Friday morning for further investigation.

“The Coast Guard and its partners maintain a robust patrol presence throughout the Caribbean Sea to deter illicit maritime activity,” said Capt. Peter Brown, chief of response operations for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “Our primary concern is for the safety of these migrants, who are putting their lives at extreme risk in grossly overloaded vessels.”

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

The Mohawk is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.
The Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla.

For information on how to legally immigrate to the United States, 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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