SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated 43 Dominicans and returned 23 Haitians to the Dominican Republic Wednesday, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages near Puerto Rico.
The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.
“The Coast Guard’s and our Caribbean Border Interagency Group partners strong collaboration is key to safeguarding the nation’s southernmost maritime border, and to saving countless lives from the dangers associated with illegal voyages in the Mona Passage,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Sector San Juan commander. “If you are thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, we ask that you not take to the sea. You will be risking your life and endangering others along the way. If caught, you will be returned to your country of origin or you could find yourself facing criminal prosecution in US courts.”
A Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit interdicted an illegal voyage Tuesday morning that was transporting 16 Dominicans and 23 Haitians aboard a 25-foot green colored makeshift boat just off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon that arrived on scene and safely embarked the migrants.
The aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection marine enforcement aircraft detected a second illegal voyage Tuesday night, approximately 28 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla Puerto Rico Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and diverted the Cutter Richard Dixon diverted to interdict the suspect vessel. The cutter Richard Dixon stopped the illegal voyage and embarked 27 Dominicans, 22 men and five women, from the 25-foot blue and white makeshift vessel.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.
Since October 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022, the Coast Guard and CBIG partner agencies have carried out 44 illegal voyage interdictions in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico. So far, 1,088 non-US citizens have been interdicted, who are mostly comprised of Dominican Republic and Haitian nationals (798 Dominicans, 253 Haitians).