Coast Guard interdicts 49 Haitian migrants 21 miles northeast of Cuba

Coast Guard Cutter Tampa file photo by by PA1 Dana Warr.

Coast Guard Cutter Tampa file photo by by PA1 Dana Warr.

MIAMI — The Coast Guard interdicted 49 Haitian migrants Saturday approximately 21 miles northeast of Punta Maisi, Cuba.

The crew of the Royal Netherlands Navy ship HNLMS Groningen (P-843) with a Coast Guard law enforcement team interdicted a 35-foot Haitian sail freighter with 49 migrants aboard, three of those being unaccompanied children. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC-902) was diverted to assist.

The cutter Tampa crew arrived on scene and embarked the 49 migrants, 39 males and 10 females, due to safety concerns with the vessel.

“The Coast Guard continues to maintain a focused and coordinated effort with multiple agency assets to interdict any attempt to dangerously and unlawfully immigrate by sea to the United States,” said Cmdr. Michael Vega, Coast Guard 7th District enforcement branch. “Those who are interdicted at sea attempting to illegally immigrate will be repatriated to their country in accordance with existing U.S. immigration policy.”

Approximately 2,932 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2019 compared to 2,727 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2018. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean, and Atlantic. Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

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