Coast Guard interdicts 25 migrants off West Palm Beach

Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet rescue crews arrived on scene to a 30-foot reportedly taking on water approximately 30 miles off Jupiter, Florida, March 4, 2021. The crew determined the vessel was not in distress just overloaded with people. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI — Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet and Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations rescue crews interdicted a 30-foot vessel with 25 people aboard Wednesday after they called for help reporting they were taking on water approximately 30 miles northeast of Jupiter.

The Station Lake Worth Inlet rescue crew determined the vessel was overloaded and not in danger of sinking. There were no reported medical concerns.

Coast Guard Cutter William Flores arrived on scene and embarked 25 Haitian nationals: nine adult males, nine adult females, and seven accompanied minors for repatriation to Haiti.

“Thankfully the people aboard this vessel had a VHF radio in order to call for help, but there wasn’t any other lifesaving equipment on board,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason Reynolds, command duty officer, Coast Guard Sector Miami. “The risk of loss of life is too great to take to the seas in overloaded, unseaworthy vessels and no lifesaving gear.”

Since Oct. 1, 2020, Coast Guard crews have interdicted 181 Haitians compared to fiscal year 2020, Oct. 1, 2019 – Sept. 30, 2020, where crews interdicted 418 Haitians.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crew members were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. There were no migrants in these cases reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

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