Coast Guard repatriates 230 Haitian migrants

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare repatriated 230 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Saturday morning.

An HU-25 Falcon jet crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami spotted a 50-foot sail freighter just west of Great Inagua, Bahamas, Thursday morning. An HC-130 fixed-wing aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., was diverted to remain on scene with the sail freighter until a Coast Guard cutter arrived.

The Legare crew was diverted to interdict the grossly overloaded vessel. Once on scene, the Legare crew distributed life jackets and safely embarked the 230 Haitian migrants–191 men, 34 women and five boys.

“This is yet another example of the diligence of Coast Guardsmen patrolling off the coast of Haiti,” said Capt. Steven Banks, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of enforcement. “The Coast Guard maintains a strong cutter and aircraft presence in the Windward Pass to deter and interdict these grossly overloaded, unsafe and illegal ventures.”

So far during fiscal year 2010, which began Oct. 1, 1,550 Haitian migrants have been interdicted at sea.

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

The Legare is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

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