Coast Guard repatriates 20 Cuban migrants

Kathleen MooreMIAMI — Twenty Cuban migrants were repatriated to Bahia de Cabanas, Cuba, by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore Tuesday.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Key West, Florida command center received a report of eight people aboard a homemade raft 31 nautical miles south of Key West Saturday night.  The Coast Guard Cutter Legare was diverted to the scene and upon arrival embarked the eight migrants from the unseaworthy raft.  Three of the migrants were treated for dehydration.  The eight migrants were later transferred to the cutter Kathleen Moore for repatriation.

On the same day, watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Florida, received a call from a good Samaritan reporting a migrant vessel with multiple people aboard five nautical miles east of Key Largo, Florida.  A crew from Station Islamorada was dispatched to the scene and embarked 12 Cuban migrants, who were later transferred to the cutters Legare and Kathleen Moore for repatriation.

“We have seen an increase over the last year in the number of Cuban migrants trying to enter the United States via maritime means.  The Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection continue to vigilantly patrol the Florida Straits and Caribbean to rescue migrants from potentially deadly voyages and enforce U.S. immigration policy,” said Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, Coast Guard 7th District deputy chief of enforcement.

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants receive food, water and basic medical care.

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