Coast Guard repatriates 26 migrants to the Dominican Republic

The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) repatriated 26 migrants, 22 men and four women, to the Dominican Republic Dec. 9, 2019, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage Dec. 7, 2019 in the Mona Passage. The interdiction was the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group.   (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez repatriated 26 migrants, 22 men and four women, to the Dominican Republic Dec. 9, 2019 (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) repatriated 26 migrants to the Dominican Republic Monday, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage Saturday morning in the Mona Passage.

The interdiction was the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

The crew of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations marine patrol aircraft sighted the illegal migrant voyage, approximately 35 nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Reliance (WMEC-615) diverted to the scene and interdicted the 25-foot migrant boat with 22 Dominican men and four women aboard.


“I’m extremely proud of our crews and our CBP partners who did an excellent job responding to this case and rescuing all 26 occupants aboard this grossly overloaded makeshift vessel,” said Cmdr. Beau Power, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of response. “The migrants were not wearing lifejackets and they were observed continuously bailing out water from their boat. Unfortunately, this is a common representation of what an illegal migrant voyage looks like each and every day, the conditions of the voyage are extremely dangerous and the migrants are always at risk of losing their lives at any given moment.”

The crew of the cutter Reliance transferred the migrants to the cutter Heriberto Hernandez for their repatriation. The migrants were transported to Dominican Republic waters just off Samaná, where they were transferred to a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat.

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

Cutter Heriberto Hernandez is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while the cutter Reliance is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Kittery, Maine.

Operation Caribbean Guard is a Department of Homeland Security multi-agency law enforcement operation to support ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands being executed under the San Juan Regional Coordinating Mechanism (SJ ReCoM)/Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

CBIG 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, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.


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