Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket repatriates 28 Cuban migrants

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket repatriated 28 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Friday.

A good Samaritan notified watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., that they were on scene with a rustic vessel with 23 Cuban migrants aboard approximately 11 miles south of Boca Chica, Fla., Wednesday. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket was diverted, and once on scene, embarked the Cuban migrants.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew located a rustic vessel about 16 miles south of Elboy Cay, Bahamas, Tuesday. The cutter Nantucket crew was diverted and was able to safely embark the seven Cuban migrants from the rustic vessel. Two of the seven migrants were later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island and are awaiting disposition.

“The U.S. government’s policy is to encourage safe, orderly, and legal migration,” said Capt. Steven Banks, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of enforcement. “The U.S. Coast Guard’s role in enforcing that policy is to deter and respond to unsafe, disorderly, and illegal maritime migration by intercepting these homemade rafts that pursue these perilous voyages. We continue to maintain a strong presence of cutters and aircraft in the Straits of Florida to respond to these migrant smuggling activities.”

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

The cutter Nantucket is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The cutter Pea Island is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.

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