Coast Guard Rescues, Repatriates 247 Haitian Migrants

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MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane repatriated 247 Haitian migrants to Cap-Haiten, Haiti, Tuesday. The Haitian migrants were located on two over-crowded sailboats Saturday and Sunday while the 270-foot cutter patrolled the waters off Haiti.

Crewmembers aboard the Harriet Lane located a 23-foot sail freighter approximately 17 miles west of Great Inagua, Bahamas, early Saturday morning. The crew launched two small boats, and distributed life jackets before safely embarking 116 Haitian migrants.

Crewmembers located a 35-foot sail freighter with an unknown number of people aboard, approximately 20 miles southeast of Great Inagua Sunday morning but due to safety concerns, decided to wait until sunrise before attempting to transfer the migrants. The next morning, the Harriet Lane crew launched two small boats, distributed life jackets an embarked 131 Haitian migrants.

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

These two sail freighters were grossly overloaded and not seaworthy enough to make a trip across ocean waters,” said Cmdr. John McKinley, commanding officer of the Harriet Lane. These two cases once again illustrate the needless danger people place themselves in in order to illegally migrate to the United States.

In accordance with United States policy, all migrants interdicted at sea will be immediately repatriated.

The Harriet Lane is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

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