SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated 12 Dominican nationals Sunday to the Dominican Republic following the interdiction of a migrant vessel in Mona Passage waters off Puerto Rico.

“The quick response and coordination between the Coast Guard units involved resulted in the safe interdiction and removal of the migrants from a dangerous situation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Roberto Concepción, Coast Guard Sector San Juan command duty officer. “People should not take to the sea aboard unseaworthy vessels and trust ruthless smugglers with their well-being, it could cost them their lives.”

During a routine patrol in the Mona Passage Friday afternoon, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected a group of migrants traveling aboard a 14-foot makeshift boat, approximately 51 nautical miles northwest of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier crew to interdict the migrant vessel and launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Borinquen to provide interdiction and rescue support overhead.

Shortly thereafter, the cutter Joseph Napier crew arrived on scene, stopped the migrant vessel and safely embarked all 12 migrants, including 10 adult men, a woman and a male minor, aboard the cutter. Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

The cutter Joseph Napier crew destroyed the migrant vessel as a hazard to navigation.

The migrants were later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Yellowfin and transported to Dominican Republic waters, where they were repatriated, and received by the crew of a Dominican Republic navy vessel.

The Joseph Napier is 154-foot fast response cutter, while the Yellowfin is an 87-foot coastal patrol boat, both cutters are homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.   back...
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