Coast Guard repatriates 7 migrants to Cuba

Richard Etheridge’s rescue crew stops a migrant sea voyage due to safety of life at sea concerns, Feb. 17, 2021, approximately 35 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida. The crew brought the seven men aboard and reported the men left Havana, Cuba, six days prior and were in good health. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Richard Etheridge’s rescue crew stops a migrant sea voyage due to safety of life at sea concerns, Feb. 17, 2021, approximately 35 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

MIAMI — Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans’s crew repatriated seven Cubans to Cuba, Friday, after Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge’s crew stopped their sea voyage due to safety of life at sea concerns.

A good Samaritan reported to Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders that a 15-foot green hull, wooden and aluminum vessel without a motor and seven people aboard was drifting, Wednesday, at approximately 8:30 a.m. 35 miles east of West Palm Beach.

A Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew located the vessel and directed Richard Etheridge’s rescue crew to the scene. The crew brought the seven men aboard and reported the men left Havana, Cuba, six days prior and were in good health. The crew provided the migrants with lifejackets before embarking them aboard the cutter. Once aboard, they received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

Richard Etheridge’s crew rendezvoused with the Raymond Evans and transferred the men, Thursday, for their transport and repatriation to Cabanas, Cuba.

“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies are aggressively maintaining a presence in the Florida Straits and discourage these dangerous and deadly voyages,” said Lt Cmdr Mario Gil, Coast Guard liaison officer, U.S. Embassy Havana. “U.S. policy is to carry out orderly, safe, and legal migration which we support through deterrence of unlawful maritime migration.”‎

This fiscal year, more than 90 Cuban migrants have been interdicted trying to illegally cross into the U.S. through the Florida straits.

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