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US Customs, Coast Guard interdict 28 Cuban migrants

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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MIAMI, United States (CMC) —The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says its Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Miami Air and Marine Branch (MAMB), working in partnership with the US Coast Guard (USCG) detected and interdicted a rustic vessel with 28 Cuban migrants on Friday.

The Coast Guard reports that watch standers at Coast Guard 7th District Command Centre received a report from the Cuban Border Guard Saturday of a northbound rustic vessel with about 25 people aboard.

An aircraft later located a 26-foot rustic vessel with 28 migrants aboard north of Havana.

“The highly effective collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies is more important than ever when it comes to combatting smuggling,” said Hector Rojas, Deputy Director, CBP Marine Operations at the Miami Air and Marine Branch. “The success of this event is a testament to the importance of information sharing, quick response, and partnerships.”

“US immigration policies have not changed, and we urge people not to take to the ocean in unseaworthy vessels,” said Captain Jason Ryan, the chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard's 7th District. “People aboard are putting their lives at risk attempting illegal voyages in homemade vessels without proper navigation or safety equipment.”

After making the interdiction, CBP said the crew “safely embarked 20 males, seven females and one child aboard the cutter.”

“The Coast Guard with our partner agencies will continue to patrol vigilantly to rescue and repatriate undocumented migrants who take to the sea,” Ryan said.

“Illegal migration at sea is inherently dangerous. Air and marine operations aims to bring encounters like this to an effective conclusion, as quickly and safely as possible,” said Jeff Maher, Deputy Director Air Operations for Miami Air and Marine Branch. “By intercepting these craft offshore, AMO and USCG hope to deter others from undertaking risky and sometimes deadly voyages.”

CBP said about 189 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally migrate to the US via the maritime environment since October 1, compared to 1,989 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2017.

These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, Caribbean and Atlantic, CBP said.

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