Coast Guard Repatriates 26 Cuban Migrants

MIAMI РThe crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island repatriated 26 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Caba̱as, Cuba today at 10 a.m.

On March 9, the crew of the USS Enterprise and the German Navel Vessel, FFGHM Sachsen, located three Cuban migrants on a 15-foot motor vessel 100 miles east of Daytona Beach, Fla. They were later transferred via small boat to the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk.

According to the rescued migrants, only three men survived the nine day and 300 mile ordeal at sea.

On March 13, the Coast Guard received a phone call from a concerned family member who was reporting a go-fast out of fuel 25 miles southwest of Dry Tortugas, Fla. Coast Guard Sector Key West diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak which located the vessel disabled and adrift with 24 migrants and two suspected smugglers onboard. The crew of the Sitkinak embarked all and later transferred them to Cutter Cypress. Disposition of one of the migrants is still pending. The two suspected smugglers will be transferred to Customs and Border Protection officials in Key West, Fla.

“We need people to understand that migrant smuggling operations are every bit as dangerous as taking to the water in overloaded or unseaworthy vessels,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, public affairs officer for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “Trying to illegally enter the United States from the maritime domain is inherently dangerous and threatens the lives of all involved.”

Once on board Coast Guard cutters, all migrants receive food, water and any necessary medical treatment.

The cutter Mohawk is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.

The cutter Cypress is a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in Mobile, Ala.

The cutter Sitkinak is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Miami Beach, Fla.

The cutter Pea Island is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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