Coast Guard repatriates 19 migrants to Cuba

A rustic vessel floating approximately 15 miles east of Key Largo, Aug. 7, 2021. Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr.’s crew transferred 19 Cuban migrants to Cuba. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A rustic vessel floating approximately 15 miles east of Key Largo, Aug. 7, 2021.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI — Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr.’s crew repatriated 19 Cubans to Cuba, Wednesday, following four interdictions off the Florida Keys.

A good Samaritan notified Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of a suspicious vessel with two people aboard approximately 15 miles east of Key Largo, Aug. 7, at approximately 10 a.m. A Station Islamorada law enforcement small boat crew intercepted the vessel and transferred the Cuban migrants to Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. for repatriation.

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew notified Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of a suspicious vessel at approximately 4 p.m., Aug. 7, about 48 miles south of Marathon. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operation officers intercepted the vessel, embarked seven Cuban migrants. The migrants were transferred to Charles David Jr. for repatriation.

A good Samaritan notified Coast Guard District Seven watchstanders of a suspicious vessel approximately 78 miles southeast of Key West with six Cuban migrants aboard at approximately 5 a.m., Aug. 9. A Coast Guard Cutter Daniel Tarr law enforcement crew intercepted the vessel and transferred five Cuban migrants to Charles David Jr. for repatriation. One migrant was determined to merit further screening and is being transferred to the proper authorities.

A good Samaritan notified Coast Guard District Seven watchstanders of a suspicious vessel about 78 miles south of Key West at approximately 10 a.m., Aug. 9. A Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous law enforcement crew intercepted the vessel and transferred the five Cuban migrants to Charles David Jr. for repatriation.

No medical concerns were reported.

“Navigating the Florida Straits is difficult and unpredictable in rustic vessels,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mario Gil, Coast Guard Liaison Officer, U.S. Embassy Havana. “Taking to the seas on unsafe vessels is dangerous and can result in loss of life.”

Since Oct. 1, 2020, Coast Guard crews have interdicted 663 Cubans compared to:

  • 5,396 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2016
  • 1,468 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2017
  • 259 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 313 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 49 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2020

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.

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