MIAMI, FL– The United States Coast Guard says the crew of its cutter Bernard Webber crew on Saturday repatriated 43 Cuban migrants to their homeland following four interdictions off the Florida Keys.
The US Coast Guard said a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater C-130 Hercules law enforcement aircrew alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of a rustic vessel on Tuesday, about 40 miles south of Long Key, Florida.
The US Coast Guard also said that a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations law enforcement aircrew alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of a rustic vessel the following day, on Wednesday – about 50 miles south of Islamorada, Florida.
Later in the day, another vessel was spotted about 45 miles south of Big Pine Key, Florida, and another was seen 65 miles south of Marathon, Florida.
“The Coast Guard and our partners have increased air and surface patrols in the Florida Straits, Windward, and Mona Passages,” said Petty Officer Nicole J. Groll, Coast Guard District Seven. “These waterways are dangerous, unpredictable, and the risk of losing life is great.”
The Coast Guard said it repatriated the 48 Cuban migrants on Thursday during the interdictions off the Florida Keys.
Since October 1, 2021, the US Coast Guard said its crews interdicted 1,952 Cubans compared to 5,396 in the Fiscal Year 2016, 1,468 in the Fiscal Year 2017, 259 in the Fiscal Year 2018, 313 in the Fiscal Year 2019, 49 in the Fiscal Year 2020 and 838 in the Fiscal Year 2021.