Coast Guard repatriates 22 migrants to the Dominican Republic

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos file photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos repatriated 22 migrants to the Dominican Republic, Wednesday.

The migrants were interdicted as the result of two separate cases by the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser in the Mona Pass during efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group.

“Both of these vessels were overloaded and underpowered, posing an immense risk of potentially capsizing and endangering the lives of all persons aboard,” said Lt. Luke Walsh, cutter Winslow Griesser commanding officer. “The outstanding coordination between Coast Guard Sector San Juan and Coast Guard aircraft allowed the crew of Winslow Griesser to quickly respond and remove all persons to safety.”

During a routine patrol of the Mona Passage Monday night, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft detected a grossly overloaded 25-foot migrant boat, approximately 35 nautical miles northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic traveling toward Puerto Rico without navigational lights. Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser to interdict the vessel. Shortly thereafter, the Winslow Griesser arrived on scene and stopped the migrant vessel. The Winslow Griesser crew safely embarked all 18 migrants, 17 men and a woman of Dominican nationality.

In a separate case Tuesday night, the Coast Guard HC-144 crew detected a 12-foot migrant vessel in Mona Passage international waters traveling toward Puerto Rico without navigational lights, approximately 30 nautical miles northeast of Cabo Engaño, Dominican Republic. Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the Winslow Griesser to interdict the vessel. The Winslow Griesser arrived on scene, stopped the migrant boat and embarked all four men of Dominican Republic nationality.

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

The cutter Joseph Tezanos transferred the migrants to the crew of a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat to be repatriated to the Dominican Republic.

The Winslow Griesser and Joseph Tezanos are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Coast Guard’s efforts under Operation Unified Resolve contribute to the interagency results being achieved each and every day locally under Operation Caribbean Guard, which coordinates efforts between the Coast Guard, its DHS, Commonwealth and Territorial law enforcement partners, who are working diligently to deter, detect and disrupt illicit maritime trafficking to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Caribbean Border Interagency Group 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 (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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