Coast Guard repatriates 20 migrants to the Dominican Republic

A Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon (WPC-113) crewmember operates the 25-foot migrant vessel after completing the interdiction Aug. 4, 2021, 34 miles off Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Cutter Richard Dixon later transferred the 18 migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy crew Friday, one of the females  was repatriated and transferred to the Dominican Navy Saturday by the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley (WPC-1117), while the remaining unaccompanied minor was repatriated and transferred to the Dominican Navy Tuesday by the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Grieser (WPC-1116). (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon (WPC-113) crewmember operates the 25-foot migrant vessel after completing the interdiction Aug. 4, 2021, 34 miles off Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.   (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated 20 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage 34 miles north west off Aguadilla, Puerto Rico,Thursday.

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

“We are glad the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon (WPC-1113) helped saving all 20 lives from this grossly overloaded vessel,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Moore, Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center watchstander. “Unfortunately, the conditions these migrants faced placed their lives in great danger. In many cases, including this one, the vessels we interdict are unseaworthy and have little to no safety or communications equipment. We strongly encourage anybody even thinking of taking to the sea to go through the proper, legal channels for immigration.”

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a communication Wednesday afternoon from a Border Patrol Sector agent, who informed of an illegal voyage taking place, approximately 34 miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the Richard Dixon crew to the scene.

Once on scene with the interdicted 25-foot vessel, the crew of cutter Richard Dixon safely embarked the migrants for safety of life at sea concerns. The migrant vessel was transporting 15 adult men and four women, as well as one male unaccompanied minor, who claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. There were no migrants in these cases reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

The Cutter Richard Dixon later transferred the 18 migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy crew on August 6, 2021, one of the females was repatriated and transferred to the Dominican Navy on August 11, 2021 by the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley (WPC-1117), while the remaining unaccompanied minor was repatriated and transferred to the Dominican Navy Tuesday by the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Grieser (WPC-1116).

Cutters Richard Dixon 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 being executed under the San Juan Regional Coordinating Mechanism (SJ ReCoM)/Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

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 borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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