Coast Guard Cutter Northland repatriates 18 Haitians to Cap Haitian, Haiti

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Northland repatriated 18 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitian, Haiti, Saturday.

Coast Guard crews originally responded to and interdicted 20 migrants, Thursday, February 6, 2014, approximately two nautical miles off Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The migrant vessel was spotted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), eight nautical miles off Mona Island and reported to the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba, who in coordination with a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen completed the interdiction.

Through a coordinated effort, the 18 Haitians and two Dominicans, were safely removed from their unseaworthy yola (boat) by the crew of the Escanaba keeping them safe from the perils of the sea.  The yola was destroyed as a hazard to navigation.

Once aboard the Escanaba all migrants received food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention.

The group of migrants were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus, where biometrics processing was conducted to determine if any migrants had previous criminal or illegal immigration history in the United States or a U.S. Territory. The migrants were then transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Northland, who in turn rendezvoused with CBP Border Patrol agents Friday, and transferred custody of the two Dominicans for criminal prosecution.

The remaining 18 Haitian migrants were repatriated Saturday morning to Cap Haitian, Haiti.

The Coast Guard’s efforts under Operation Unified Resolve contribute to the interagency results being achieved each and every day locally under Operation Caribbean Guard, which coordinates efforts between the Coast Guard, its DHS, Commonwealth and Territorial law enforcement partners, who are working diligently to deter, detect, and disrupt illicit maritime trafficking to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter, homeported in Boston, MA.  The Coast Guard Cutter Northland is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter, homeported in Portsmouth, VA. The Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus is a 110-foot patrol boat, homeported in San Juan, PR.

For more 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


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