Coast Guard rescues, repatriates 119 Haitian migrants

MIAMI – The Coast Guard Cutter Seneca repatriated 119 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti Friday, after they were interdicted at sea Sunday.

While on a routine patrol, Coast Guard Cutters Tornado and Key Biscayne crewmembers located a grossly overloaded 65-foot Haitian sail freighter northeast of Matanzas, Cuba.

The crew of two Coast Guard cutters arrived on scene and distributed personal flotation devices to the 119 Haitians before safely transferring them between the two cutters. Senaca received the migrants on Wednesday to conduct the transit to Haiti for repatriation.

“Overloaded vessels can quickly lose stability and capsize sending migrants into the water,” said Capt. Steven Banks, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of enforcement. “Migrants on grossly overloaded vessels usually do not have necessary safety equipment and lack sufficient supplies of food and water, which can lead to dehydration and, in some cases, death,” Banks added.

Once aboard the cutters, all migrants received food, water, shelter and necessary medical attention before being repatriated.

The Cutter Senaca is a 270-medium endurance cutter homperted in Boston, mass.

The Cutter Tornado is a 179-foot patrol boat homeported in Pascagoula, Miss.

The Cutter Key Biscayne is a 110-foot patrol boats homeported in Key West, Fla.

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