US Coast Guard repatriates 52 Cuban migrants

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo repatriated 52 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, March 30.

These repatriations are a result of three separate migrant interdictions at sea in the south Florida Straits.

On Saturday, an Air Station Clearwater HC-130 aircrew located a make-shift raft south of Key West, Florida, with 26 Cuban migrants aboard. The Coast Guard Cutter Venturous arrived on scene and embarked all the migrants.

Seven of the 26 migrants were found to have gunshot wounds suffered prior to the interdiction. The most critical, six, were medevaced to a local area hospital.

On Sunday, the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton detected a migrant vessel south of Key West, Florida, with seven Cuban migrants aboard.

On Sunday, a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 aircrew detected a 35 foot center console vessel south of Dry Tortugas, Florida, with 25 Cuban migrants aboard.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it had observed a steady increase in illegal maritime migration attempts from Cuba to the Southeastern U.S. since the U.S. announcement of normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014, nearly 15 months ago.

Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 2,753 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.