The U.S. Coast Guard averted what may have been a disaster when it intercepted a Florida-bound sailboat packed with 132 Haitian migrants in the Bahamas.
The vessel was stopped some 95 miles southwest of the Andros Island on Sunday.
The group was turned over to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force on Tuesday.
‘We are urging families in the U.S. to tell their families in other countries not to make this illegal and dangerous journey through the Florida Straits, Windward and Mona Passages,’ the Coast Guard said in a statement Tuesday. ‘Their vessels will be stopped and they will be sent home.’
The boat was the second that the Coast Guard encountered in less than a week with Haitian migrants fleeing the island nation that for decades has been stricken by poverty and lately engulfed by violence following the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
U.S. Coast Guard rescued 132 migrants from Haiti after intercepting a Florida-bound vessel (pictured) on Sunday in the Bahamas. The maritime military branch has interdicted 3,412 migrants from the Caribbean island nation since October 1, 2021
At least 109 Haitians were removed from the vessel they were crammed into after it was intercepted 35 miles east of Punta Maisi, Cuba, on April 11.
The group was transferred from the unsafe boat to the Coast Guard Cutter Decisive and repatriated to Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on Friday.
The Coast Guard had also rescued 88 Haitian migrants from a sailing boat that was sinking about 18 miles off the coast of Sagua La Grande Cuba on April 5. All of the individuals were expelled to Haiti on April 10.
The U.S. Coast Guard has seen a dramatic spike in Haitian migrants attempting to reach the United States via the seas, reporting 3,412 migrants interdictions since October 1, 2021 – the beginning of fiscal year 2022. In comparison, 1,527 encounters were registered in fiscal year 2021
A U.S. Coast Guard boat approaches an overloaded vessel with 67 Haitian migrants near Anguilla Cay, Bahamas, on April 11
Data from the maritime military branch shows that Coast Guard crews have encountered 3,412 migrants from Haiti since October 1, 2021 – the beginning of fiscal year 2022.
The totals eclipse the Coast Guard’s 1,527 interdictions of Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2021 combined with 418 in fiscal year 2020 and 932 in fiscal year 2019.
‘Taking to the seas is always risky,’ Coast Guard District Seven public affairs officer, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Neiman, recently said. ‘There are inherent risks in attempting to make the voyage to the United States in these grossly overloaded vessels in treacherous waters.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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