Coast Guard repatriates 219 Haitian migrants

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsMIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Confidence repatriated 219 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, this week.

Watchstanders at the 7th Coast Guard District command center received notification of a sail freighter northwest of Great Inagua, Bahamas, with 131 Haitian migrants aboard Sunday. The Confidence arrived on scene, safely embarked the migrants and repatriated them Wednesday.

In another case, watchstanders at the 7th Coast Guard District command center received notification of a 40-foot motor vessel with 88 Haitian migrants aboard in the vicinity of Castle Island, Bahamas, Monday. The Royal Bahamian Defense Force intercepted the vessel and transferred the 88 migrants to the Confidence who repatriated them Wednesday.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants are provided with food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

“U.S. Coast Guard policy is to deter and respond to dangerous, and illegal maritime migration by intercepting vessels pursuing perilous and illegal voyages,” said Capt. Brendan McPherson, 7th Coast Guard District chief of enforcement.”Our primary concern is for the safety of these migrants, who are putting their lives at extreme risk in grossly overloaded vessels.”

The Confidence and the other medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by an Offshore Patrol Cutter. The new OPCs will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners, superior to the cutters they replace. Equipped with modern sensors, the Offshore Patrol Cutter will provide the enhanced surveillance necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guard’s homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.

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