Coast Guard assists Bahamians in terminating 2 illegal voyages off Key West coast

A crew member from Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo radios information to the ship from the small boat, Oct. 13, 2020. Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo is homeported in Key West, Florida. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A crew member from Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo radios information to the ship from the small boat, Oct. 13, 2020. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard assisted Bahamian authorities in terminating two illegal voyages in Bahamian waters approximately 105 miles off Key West.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 Hercules air crew located two rustic vessels with 13 Cuban migrants aboard off the southern coast of Cay Sal bank.

Working with Bahamian authorities, a Coast Guard Cutter Issac Mayo law enforcement team diverted and transferred the migrants to the cutter. Eventually, they were transferred to a Royal Bahamian Defence Force ship for further action.

“With the consistent danger these smuggling ventures present, our crews remain vigilant to protect lives and enforce maritime laws,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas Zieser, commanding officer, Coast Guard Cutter Issac Mayo. “Our crew couldn’t have done such a great job without our Royal Bahamian Defence Force partners, or without the assistance of the crews from Air Station Clearwater, Coast Guard Sector Key West, and District 7.”

This is the Coast Guard’s first Cuban migrant interdiction of fiscal year 2021, which began Oct. 1, 2020. In fiscal year 2020, the Coast Guard crews interdicted 140 Cuban migrants who attempted to illegally migrate via the maritime environment. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean.

All migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention once aboard a Coast Guard cutter. Throughout the interdiction Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

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