Coast Guard and Dominican Republic navy interdict 52 migrants in the Mona Passage

The Dominican Republic navy coastal patrol boat Bellatrix (CG-106) embarks a group of 52 illegal migrants from a makeshift vessel Wednesday in the Mona Passage. The interdiction was a joint effort between U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Dominican Republic Navy air and surface assets, which resulted in the recovery of all the migrants and their safe return to the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic navy coastal patrol boat Bellatrix (CG-106) embarks a group of 52 illegal migrants from a makeshift vessel Wednesday in the Mona Passage.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Dominican Republic Navy air and surface units interdicted 52 migrants aboard a makeshift vessel during an illegal voyage Wednesday in the Mona Passage.

The group of migrants included 51 Dominican Republic and one Cuban nationals, 39 men and 13 women, who were safely returned to the Dominican Republic. The interdiction was the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“The close collaboration and effective communication between the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and Dominican Republic Navy responding assets led to the interdiction and safe recovery of all 52 migrants,” said Cmdr. Beau Power, Sector San Juan chief of response. “People should not take to the sea as part of an illegal migrant voyage, they are extremely dangerous. Often, like in this case, they take place aboard grossly overloaded and unseaworthy makeshift boats that could easily capsize and have little or no lifesaving equipment onboard.”


The interdiction took place Wednesday morning, after a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations DHC-8 marine patrol aircraft crew sighted a migrant vessel, approximately 15 nautical miles northwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley to carry out the interdiction and alerted Dominican Republic Navy authorities, whom also diverted the Dominican Republic Navy coastal patrol boat Bellatrix (CG-106) to the scene.

The Bellatrix arrived on scene and stopped the migrant vessel. Shortly thereafter, the Donald Horsley arrived on scene and assisted with the transfer and safe removal of the migrants to the Bellatrix for their return to the Dominican Republic.

The cutter Donald Horsley is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Operation Caribbean Guard is a Department of Homeland Security multi-agency law enforcement operation to support ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands being executed under the San Juan Regional Coordinating Mechanism (SJ ReCoM)/Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.


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