US Coast Guard warns of ‘dangerous, illegal’ migration attempts from the Caribbean

The United States Coast Guard on Saturday continued to discourage Caribbean migrants from conducting what it describes as “dangerous, illegal voyages on unsafe and unseaworthy vessels”.

The US Coast Guard said that on Thursday a Customs Air and Marine Branch aircraft detected a 20-foot pleasure craft about 46 miles east of Boca Raton, Florida and notified Coast Guard Sector Miami watch standers.

The vessel was interdicted with 14 Haitian migrants and two suspected smugglers.

This followed a similar incident the previous day when a helicopter crew, deployed to Great Inagua in The Bahamas, detected a migrant vessel about 49 miles southeast of Great Inagua.

Along with a Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessel, the US Coast Guard interdicted about 177 Haitian migrants, seven of those being minors, aboard an overloaded 45-foot wooden freighter.

In addition, on that same day, the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser repatriated 18 Dominican Republic migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy patrol vessel, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Six other Dominican Republic migrants travelling in the group remain in US federal custody facing possible prosecution.