Thursday, April 22, 2010

US Coast Guard Returns 125 Migrants to Haiti

MIAMI (CBS4) - The crew of a Coast Guard cutter repatriated 125 Haitian migrants Thursday after being located at sea in an exceedingly-overloaded sail freighter. The Coast Guarder Cutter Seneca located the vessel on Tuesday, April 20, 2010.

While conducting a routine patrol in the Caribbean Sea, Seneca crewmembers received a report of a northbound 55-foot Haitian sail freighter approximately 30 miles north of Punta Gorda, Cuba.

Crewmembers distributed life jackets to the migrants and safely transferred the 100 men, 14 women and 11 children to the cutter without incident. Due to the instability of the 55-foot vessel, Seneca boatcrews carefully and skillfully maneuvered the cutter smallboats alongside the vessel to ensure it did not capsize during the transfer process.

Once aboard the cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical care.

Since October 1, 2009, the Coast Guard has interdicted 442 Haitian migrants, including 217 in April.

The Coast Guard has stated that these are normal numbers; they have no reason to believe the number of Haitian migrants has risen significantly following the January 12, 2010 earthquake.

All Haitian migrants intercepted at sea will be repatriated back to Haiti into an area relatively unaffected by the earthquake.

Source: CBS4

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