Boat with 70 Haitians Going to US Turns Around After Stopped by Coast Guard

Approximately 70 Haitian migrants sit on a sail freighter approximately 26 miles north of Cap Haïtien, Haiti, Jan. 6, 2019. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) crew assisted the Haitian Coast Guard with stopping the illegal migrant voyage after spotting the vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Approximately 70 Haitian migrants sit on a sail freighter approximately 26 miles north of Cap Haïtien, Haiti, Jan. 6, 2019. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) crew assisted the Haitian Coast Guard with stopping the illegal migrant voyage after spotting the vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The journey of about 70 Haitian migrants trying to reach the United States was cut short Sunday after U.S. and Haitian Coast Guard crews stopped a 40-foot boat in the Caribbean.

Officials said nearly six dozen migrants were on the voyage. Their freighter was halted 26 miles north of Cap Haitien at about 1:30 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it "launched a smallboat crew to question the people aboard. Upon detection, the freighter changed course back south to Haiti."

That's when the U.S. Coast Guard continued to shadow the vessel and contacted the Haitian Coast Guard, which arrived at about 9:30 a.m. to relieve U.S. officials.

"This case highlights a critical component to the success of curbing illegal immigration in the Caribbean and that is of our international partners, and in this case specifically, the Haitian Coast Guard," said Capt. Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response for the Coast Guard's 7th District. "The close cooperation between both U.S. Coast Guard and Haitian Coast Guard operational teams in this instance helped prevent a dangerous and ill-advised illegal migrant voyage from potentially capsizing and ending tragically as we unfortunately have seen happen recently."

This article is written by Monique O. Madan from Miami Herald and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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