MIAMI — The Coast Guard repatriated 52 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Wednesday.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin repatriated 21 Cuban migrants and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Gannett repatriated 31 Cuban migrants.
These repatriations are a result of three separate migrant interdictions at sea within the last week in the south Florida Straits. In each instance, the Coast Guard helped secure the U.S. border and prevented these perilous sea voyages from ending in tragedy.
"Safety of life at sea continues to be the Coast Guard's primary concern," said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District. "The dangerous waters of the Florida Straits can be unforgiving for the unprepared on ill advised and illegal voyages. Immigration policies have not changed and we urge people not to take to the ocean in unseaworthy vessels. It is illegal and extremely dangerous.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
The Coast Guard has observed a steady increase in illegal maritime migration attempts from Cuba to the Southeastern U.S. since the U.S. announcement of normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014.
Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard's 7th District estimates that 3,563 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. This number represents the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
The Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin is an 87-foot patrol boat homeported out of Miami. The Coast Guard Cutter Gannett is an 87-foot patrol boat homeported out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.