Coast Guard repatriates 8 migrants to Cuba

Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney

Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney

MIAMI — The Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore crew repatriated eight Cubans to Cuba, Thursday, after they were interdicted off Islamorada’s coast.

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew spotted and notified Coast Guard Station Key West watchstanders of a green rustic raft with eight people aboard at approximately 7:30 p.m., Friday, 41 miles east of Islamorada. Station Islamorada law enforcement team embarked the eight Cuban adult males and transferred them to the Cutter Kathleen Moore to be repatriated.

“Migrant interdiction patrols help save lives by deterring dangerous illegal migrant activity and removing migrants from dangerous environments,” said Capt. Michael Gesele, Coast Guard District Seven Chief of Enforcement. “The Coast Guard patrols the Florida Straits, Windward Passage and the Mona Passage, maintaining a solid presence with air and sea assets. Migrants attempting to enter the United States illegally can expect to be repatriated, regardless of their nationality.”

Since Oct. 1, 2020, Coast Guard crews have interdicted 298 Cubans compared to:

  • 5,396 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2016
  • 1,468 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2017
  • 259 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 313 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 49 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2020

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crew members were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

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