Coast Guard repatriates 12 migrants to the Dominican Republic

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier repatriates 12 interdicted migrants and transfers two men, rescued in a separate case, to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Dec. 7, 2020 near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The twelve migrants were interdicted during an illegal voyage the morning of Dec. 6, 2020 near Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, while the two other men were rescued in the afternoon from a disabled vessel south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier repatriates 12 interdicted migrants and transfers two men, rescued in a separate case, to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Dec. 7, 2020 near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier repatriated 12 migrants from an interdicted illegal voyage and transferred two men, who were rescued in a separate case, to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Monday near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The migrant interdiction is the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“I commend the performance of the Joseph Napier crew in both of these cases,” said Lt. Matthew Miller, cutter Joseph Napier commanding officer. “Their swift and assertive actions ensured the safe transfer of two rescued boaters and 12 migrants to Dominican Republic Navy authorities.”

The migrant interdiction occurred Sunday morning, when the crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit stopped a 35-foot makeshift boat, approximately three and half nautical miles west of Aguadilla. Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the cutter Joseph Napier to assist.

Once on scene, the crew of the cutter Joseph Napier safely embarked 10 men and two women from the grossly overloaded boat. The crew of the Joseph Napier provided the migrants with lifejackets before embarking the Coast Guard cutter, and once they were safely aboard, they received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

Later Sunday afternoon, watchstanders in Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a communication from a Good Samaritan aboard the motor vessel Statia Glory, who reported being on scene with a disabled vessel with two people aboard, approximately eight nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The cutter Joseph Napier diverted and once on scene embarked the two men from the disabled vessel that was taking on water from incoming swells. The men, who claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals, had no life jackets, marine radio or cell phone communications onboard.

Cutter Joseph Napier is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Operation Caribbean Guard is a Department of Homeland Security multi-agency law enforcement operation to support ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands executed under the San Juan Regional Coordinating Mechanism (SJ ReCoM)/Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

CBIG unifies efforts between the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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