Coast Guard repatriates 8 people after interdiction off the Florida Keys

Eight Cuban migrants are on a rustic vessel Feb. 8, 2020 off of the Florida Keys. A Coast Guard Station Islamorada smallboat crew interdicted the migrants and the Coast Guard Cutter William Trump crew repatriated them to Cuba, Feb. 11, 2021. (Coast Guard Photo)

Eight Cuban migrants are on a rustic vessel Feb. 8, 2020 off of the Florida Keys. A Coast Guard Station Islamorada smallboat crew interdicted the migrants and the Coast Guard Cutter William Trump crew repatriated them to Cuba, Feb. 11, 2021. (Coast Guard Photo)

KEY WEST, Fla. — The Coast Guard repatriated eight Cuban migrants Thursday to Cuba.

A good Samaritan alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders Monday to the people and rustic vessel. Due to concerns of safety of life at sea, watchstanders launched a Station Islamorada rescue crew and Customs and Border Protection crew also arrived on scene.

Coast Guard rescue crews safely embarked the seven men and one woman and transferred them to the Coast Guard Cutter William Trump crew.

“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies will continue to rescue and repatriate undocumented migrants who take to the sea in unseaworthy vessels without safety equipment or a way to call for help,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mario Gil, Coast Guard liaison officer to Cuba. “Voyages like these are never worth the risk. The Florida Straits waters are unpredictable and the risk for loss of life is great on vessels such as this.”

The Coast Guard interdicted approximately 58 Cuban migrants who have attempted to illegally enter the U.S via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2021, which began Oct. 1, 2020, compared to 49 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2020. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive 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.

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