Coast Guard repatriates 73 Haitian Migrants

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma repatriated 73 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Wednesday after they were interdicted Sunday near Soldier Key in Miami.

A good samaritan contacted search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Miami Sunday morning stating there was a possible migrant landing of 50 to 60 people near Cape Florida Lighthouse on Key Biscayne, Fla.

Coast Guard crews, along with state and local agencies, quickly responded and discovered and rescued 73 Haitian migrants aboard a 30-foot grounded sail freighter.

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, migrants are provided necessary medical care, food, water and shelter.

Assisting with the efforts were:

  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, N.H.
  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Diamondback, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Miami
  • An HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Miami
  • Smallboat crews from Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla.
  • A Customs and Border Protection Air & Marine Midnight Express boat crew
  • Two Coral Gables, Fla., Police Dept. units.
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Boat

“The positive result in this case stands in stark contrast to a tragedy that occurred last October, in which six migrants drowned when their overloaded vessel grounded in Biscayne Bay,” said Capt. Peter Brown, Chief of Response Operations for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “This week, good weather, concerned citizens, and a well-coordinated response by local and federal authorities saved lives. The U.S Coast Guard, along with Customs and Border Protection, and all of our DHS partners, will continue to patrol and protect our maritime borders and rescue those found imperiled at sea.”

“Protecting our maritime borders is one of the Air and Marine Branch’s primary missions, our marine units made a significant contribution to the Homeland Security efforts by assisting our DHS partners,” said Randy Donnelson, Director, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Miami Air and Marine Branch.

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