Coastguard Charles Sexton’s crew repatriated 23 Cuban migrants to Cuba on Tuesday.
In the first ban, a migrant ship was located by a crew of small boats from Coast Guard station Islamorada and a U.S. Maritime Customs and Border Protection unit on Wednesday after staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that the migrant ship was near Key Largo.
In the second ban, a small boat crew from Coast Guard Station Marathon located a migrant ship on Friday after a crew of the HC-144 Ocean Sentry plane from Coast Guard Air Station in Miami reported that a 15-foot blower was about 36 miles southeast of Marathon.
In the third ban, the crew of the good Samaritan tanker Torm Thames located a migrant ship 70 miles south of Key West.
Since October 1, 2020, Coast Guard crews have banned 183 Cubans against:
5,396 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2016
1,468 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2017
259 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2018
313 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2019
49 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2020
“We have seen an 80% increase in migration activity since January compared to the past few years,” said Captain Adam Chamie, Coast Guard Area Commander Key West. “In most cases, migrants who attempt to enter the United States illegally by boat often travel on makeshift non-navigable ships. Most of the time, these ships are dangerously overloaded, actively embark and are ill-equipped to safely transport an unlimited number of people. The Coast Guard will continue to adjust ship and aircraft patrols to respond to increased migrant activity. In addition, we will continue to actively work with our regional partners in the Department of Homeland Security to stop the smuggling of migrants. “
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants are provided with food, water, shelter and basic medical care. Throughout the ban, Coast Guard crew members were fitted with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. No migrant in these cases reported having symptoms related to COVID-19.
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