USS James E. Williams rescues 26 migrants, transfers to Coast Guard custody

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton (WPC-1108) embarks 26 migrants after being interdicted for attempting to illegally enter to the United States. Coast Guard Cutters Charles Sexton crew and Kathleen Moore are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in Key West, Florida, which are able to carry out Coast Guard missions with greater endurance and interoperability with military and federal partners. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton embarks 26 migrants after being interdicted for attempting to illegally enter to the United States.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

LONG KEY, Fla. — The Coast Guard interdicted 26 migrants 48 miles southeast of Long Key attempting to illegally enter the United States.

Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders received a notification from a good Samaritan boat reporting a 30-foot disabled wooden sail vessel with 26 passengers aboard waving their arms.

A U.S. Navy ship that was conducting maritime operations in the area assisted the vessel in distress. The crew of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) arrived on scene and safely transferred the 26 Cuban migrants to the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton crew (WPC-1108).

“Illegal migrant ventures on unsafe and ill equipped vessels are not only against the law, but incredibly dangerous,” said Capt. Jason Ryan, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard’s Seventh District in Miami, “It is fortunate that the vessel did not capsize or end in tragedy, as we have seen all to recently in the Florida straits, and we are grateful for the assistance by the good Samaritan and the US Navy in this case.”

One of the migrants was transferred to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for further investigation and possible prosecution. The remaining 25 migrants were were repatriated to Cuba, approximately 1030 Tuesday, by the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore (WPC-1109).

Coast Guard Cutters Charles Sexton crew and Kathleen Moore are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in Key West, Florida.

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