Coast Guard repatriates 19 Dominicans, 1 Haitian

Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell file photo

Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell file photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell repatriated 19 Dominicans and returned one Haitian to the Dominican Republic Wednesday, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“The Coast Guard and our partners Caribbean Border Interagency Group employ our collective resources daily to detect and interdict illegal voyages in the Mona Passage,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “To those looking to take part in an illegal voyage, we urge you to not take to the sea! Crossing the Mona Passage aboard a grossly overloaded makeshift boat with no lifesaving equipment is one perilous voyage. You will not only be risking your life, but if interdicted, you may be prosecuted or returned to your country of origin.”

During a routine patrol late Sunday night, the crew of a Customs and Border Protection CBP Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected a suspect vessel, approximately 25 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutters Richard Dixon and Valiant to intercept the suspect vessel. Shortly thereafter, the cutter Valiant interdicted a 25-foot makeshift boat that was transporting the group of Dominicans and Haitian, who were safely embarked by the crew and later transferred to the cutter Margaret Norvell.

The cutter Margaret Norvell completed the repatriation during a rendezvous with a Dominican Republic Navy vessel near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Throughout the interdiction Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with Personal Protective Equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. No migrants were reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Since Oct. 1, 2021, Coast Guard crews interdicted 155 Dominicans and 129 Haitians in the Mona Passage and near Puerto Rico compared to:

  • 463 Dominican, 15 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2021
  • 491 Dominican, 08 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2020
  • 429 Dominican, 06 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 280 Dominican, 04 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 262 Dominican, 03 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2017
  • 246 Dominican, 19 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2016

Cutters Richard Dixon and Margarett Norvell are 154-foot fast response cutter respectively homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami, while the cutter Valiant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Mayport, Fla.

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of 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 border of Puerto Rico against illegal migration and drug smuggling.

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