Coast Guard repatriates 17 migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba

Coast Guard Cutter William Trump file photo

Coast Guard Cutter William Trump file photo

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter William Trump repatriated 17 migrants Monday to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West command center received a report from a good Samaritan Friday of a rustic vessel with 15 people aboard. The watchstanders diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans, a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft crew and a Coast Guard Station Marathon 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boatcrew from patrols to intercept the vessel. A Customs and Border Protection 39-foot Midnight Express Interceptor crew also assisted.

After making the interdiction, the Station Marathon boatcrew embarked 10 migrants while the Midnight Express Interceptor boatcrew embarked the other seven. They then transferred the 15 males and two females aboard the cutter Raymond Evans and later to the cutter William Trump.

“This interdiction was a result of several factors, but the key components are the expertise and communication between Coast Guard units and the CBP in the Florida Keys,” said Lt. Patrick Frost, commanding officer of the Raymond Evans. “The journey by rustic vessel undertaken by persons attempting to migrate illegally from Cuba to the United States is highly hazardous, and this is as much a safety issue as it is a law enforcement issue.”

Approximately 274 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally migrate to the U.S. via the maritime environment since Oct. 1 compared to 1,989 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2017. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, Caribbean and Atlantic.

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and medical attention.

The Raymond Evans and William Trump are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in Key West.

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