Coast Guard Repatriates 202 Haitians

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous repatriated 202 Haitian migrants to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday.

Crewmembers from the cutter Vigilant located a grossly overloaded 40-foot sail freighter approximately 33 miles south of Great Inagua, Bahamas, Friday. Once located, the Vigilant crew immediately launched their small boat and began taking the migrants off the dangerous vessel. Twenty-five of the 227 migrants were uncooperative and refused to disembark the sail freighter, and the crew of the Vigilant determined it was best to allow the sail freighter to beach itself on Isle de Tortue, Haiti.

The crew of the Venturous, while on a port call in Dominican Republic, was launched to assist and recover the migrants from the Vigorous.

“A 40-foot boat overloaded with 227 people is a disaster-at-sea waiting to happen,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, public affairs officer for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “Fortunately, the cutters Vigilant and Venturous were able to bring the migrants safely aboard their decks. The sea is an unforgiving environment in the best conditions and setting to sea in a grossly overloaded vessel is far from the best conditions. The safe embarkation of 202 migrants from such a small vessel is testimony to the skill and professionalism of our Coast Guard men and women.”

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants are provided food, water, shelter and any necessary medical attention.

The Venturous is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

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