US Coast Guard repatriates 120 migrants to Cuba amid Hurricane Ian

MIAMI, CMC – The United States (US) Coast Guard said the crew of its cutter Reliance repatriated 120 Cuban migrants to Cuba on Friday, following several interdictions off Florida’s coast during Hurricane Ian.

The US Coast Guard said a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations aircrew alerted Sector Key West watchstanders of a sailing vessel Sunday about 12 miles southeast of Islamorada, South Florida.

The US Coast Guard also said that a good Samaritan notified Sector Key West watchstanders of a migrant vessel Sunday about 18 miles south of Marathon, Florida.

In addition, among other alerts, the US Coast Guard said a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations aircrew alerted Sector Key West watchstanders of a migrant vessel Monday about 12 miles south of Islamorada.

“Taking to the sea any time carries significant risk, taking to the sea during a hurricane is flat out reckless,” said Captain Robert Kinsey, US Coast Guard District Seven.

“We just had at least one unseaworthy vessel sink, and we are looking for 17 souls,” he added. “We can only pray our crews find them so their families and loved ones can rest. Our air and surface crews are patrolling and are on the lookout to prevent illegal and unsafe ventures.”

Since October 1, 2021, the US Coast Guard said its crews interdicted 6,182 Cubans compared to 5,396 in Fiscal Year 2016, 1,468 in Fiscal Year 2017, 259 in Fiscal Year 2018, 313 in Fiscal Year 2019, 49 in Fiscal Year 2020 and 838 in Fiscal Year 2021.

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