Coast Guard repatriates 52 migrants to the Dominican Republic

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133) small boat crew while transferring migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Aug. 17, 2020. The cutter Joseph Doyle interdicted a 20-foot makeshift boat in Mona Passage waters that was transporting 52 migrants to Puerto Rico the night of Aug. 16, 2020. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle small boat crew transferring migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Aug. 17, 2020. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133) repatriated 52 migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Monday, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage west of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

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

“I’m proud of the swift response and coordination between all the Coast Guard units involved in this case which resulted in a quick interdiction and the safe removal of all 52 migrants,” said the Commanding Officer of Cutter Joseph Doyle. “These people were in real danger of capsizing due to a grossly overloaded vessel that was ill equipped with little or no lifesaving equipment. We call out to those considering taking part in an illegal voyage that they not take to the sea, the risk of a real tragedy is just too great.”

While on a routine patrol of the Mona Passage Sunday night, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry marine enforcement aircraft detected an illegal migrant voyage, approximately 30 nautical miles west of Cabo Rojo. The cutter Joseph Doyle responded to interdict the suspect vessel, while an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen was launched to provide rescue support overhead.

Shortly thereafter, the cutter Joseph Doyle arrived on scene and, with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat, stopped the 20-foot makeshift boat that was transporting 48 adult men and four women, who claimed being Dominican Republic nationals. The crew of cutter Joseph Doyle safely embarked the migrants for safety of life at sea concerns.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. There were no migrants in this case reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Cutter Joseph Doyle transported the migrants to Dominican Republic territorial waters off Punta Cana, where they completed the transfer and repatriation of the migrants to Dominican Republic navy authorities.

Cutter Joseph Doyle is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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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