US Coast Guard, allies rescue 60 Caribbean migrants from makeshift vessel

November 30, 2023

The United States Coast Guard says its air and surface units combined efforts with a US Customs and Border Protection aircrew and a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat to rescue 60 Caribbean migrants from a 35-foot makeshift vessel that was taking in water off the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic.

Earlier this week, the US Coast Guard said  watchstanders in Sector San Juan were alerted late Monday night by the aircrew of a Coast Guard HC-144 ocean sentry aircraft who detected the “grossly overloaded vessel”, about 13 nautical miles offshore. 

Watchstanders diverted the US Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier and notified the Dominican Republic Navy of the situation.

“Once on scene, the cutter Joseph Napier used the cutter’s Over the Horizon boat to approach the vessel and provide lifejackets to all the persons onboard,” the US Coast Guard said.  

“Due to the instability of the grossly overloaded vessel and the vessel taking on water, the Joseph Napier crew embarked seven of the migrants as a Dominican Republic Navy vessel arrived on scene,” it added. “The Dominican Republic Navy crew continued to safely embark the remaining migrants, and they also received the seven migrants from the cutter Joseph Napier.”  

Lieutenant Matthew Carmine, US Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier commanding officer, said he was “extremely proud of our crew’s execution of last night’s rescue.

“Their seamless interoperability with our CBP and Dominican (Republic) Navy counterparts helped save 60 lives,” he said. 

The US Coast Guard said it, along with the US Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast partners, “maintains a continual presence with air, land and sea assets in the Florida Straits, the Windward Passage, the Mona Passage and the Caribbean Sea.”

Since October 1, 2023, through October 31, 2023, the US Coast Guard said it has carried out nine unlawful irregular migration voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea. 

Interdicted during this period, are 206 non-US citizens, including 201 Dominicans and five Haitians, the US Coast Guard said. 

Since October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023, the US Coast Guard said it has carried out 67 unlawful irregular maritime migration voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico. 

The US Coast Guard said  during this period  2,161 non-US citizens, including 1,871 Dominican Republic nationals, 264 Haitians, 15 Venezuelans, seven Kazakhs, one Albanian, two Colombians and one of unknown nationality, were interdicted.


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