Florida, USA — The Coast Guard interdicted five Cuban migrants Saturday approximately 35 miles south of Marathon.
Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders received a notification of a 6-foot rustic vessel with five people aboard traveling 30 miles south of Marathon and launched a Coast Guard Station Marathon 33-foot Special Purpose Craft—Law Enforcement crew and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans (WPC-1110) crew to the scene. Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders authorized the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew.
The cutter Raymond Evans crew safely embarked all five adult male Cuban migrants and transferred them to the Coast Guard Cutter William Trump (WPC-1111) crew. The cutter William Trump crew repatriated the five migrants to Cuba.
“These illegal ventures attempting to immigrate to the United States are extremely dangerous, especially during the hurricane season when weather and sea conditions can dramatically and rapidly change in minutes putting migrants in danger of being lost at sea,” said Lt. Kelsey Freeman, commanding officer cutter of the Raymond Evans. “The Coast Guard and our partner agencies’ first priority is safety of life at sea and these voyages in ill-equipped vessels aren’t safe. The Coast Guard and our partner agencies maintain their focused and coordinated efforts to interdict and stop these unlawful migration attempts into the United States.”
Approximately 35 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally enter the US via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2020 compared to 327 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2019. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean, and Atlantic.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crew members were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. There were no migrants in this case reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.