Coast Guard repatriates 53 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba

MIAMI — Coast Guard crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutters Key Biscayne and Margaret Norvell repatriated 53 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.

These repatriations are a result of three separate interdictions of people attempting to illegally migrate to the United States.

On Sept. 16, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutters Pelican and Cypress interdicted 15 Cuban migrants aboard a rustic vessel south of Houma, Louisiana. All 15 Cuban migrants were later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant.

On Sept. 18, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell located and arrived on scene with a rustic vessel carrying 29 Cuban migrants southeast of Key West, Florida. Crewmembers aboard the Margaret Norvell rescued and safely transferred all Cuban migrants to the cutter.

On Sept. 20, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received notification from a motor vessel crew who came across a raft with nine Cuban migrants south of Mobile, Alabama. The motor vessel transferred the nine Cuban migrants off the unseaworthy raft and safely embarked them onto the cutter Vigilant.

“These illegal migrant ventures demonstrate just how risky and dangerous taking to the sea in unseaworthy vessels can be. We were fortunate to rescue these individuals and that their journey did not end tragically,” said Cmdr. Tim Cronin, Coast Guard 7th District deputy chief of enforcement. “The Coast Guard, along with our Department of Homeland Security and local partners, will continue to prevent illegal maritime migration, rescue those who are in peril, and return migrants to their country of origin.”

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

Coast Guard assets involved in these two cases were:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant, 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida.
  • Coast Guard Cutter Pelican, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Abbeville, Louisiana.
  • Coast Guard Cutter Cypress, a 225-foot Juniper Class Seagoing Buoy Tender homeported in Pensacola, Florida.
  • Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West, Florida.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell is a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter, homeported in Miami.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Knight Island, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Key West.

In fiscal year 2014, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 5,409 Haitians, 3,657 Cubans and 573 Dominicans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

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