SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – The crew of Coast Guard Joseph Tezanos repatriated 38 migrants to the Dominican Republic on Friday, after intercepting their boat Thursday in the waters of Mona Passage near Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.
Interception and repatriation are part of the ongoing efforts of partner agencies of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) to combat the smuggling of illegal migrants.
The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol plane detected the boat on Friday morning, about 15 nautical miles northwest of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. Coast guard Joseph Tezanos responded to the sighting and banned the 35-foot vessel with the help of the cutter’s small boat. According to a statement released by the Coast Guard, “the cutter crew safely boarded the migrants from the makeshift vessel which was an extremely overloaded vessel and which was taking on water.”
Once aboard a coast guard, migrants receive food, water and basic medical care.
Captain Gregory H. Magee, Commander of the San Juan Coast Guard Sector, warned: “To anyone considering taking part in an illegal voyage, do not go to sea!” These voyages are extremely dangerous, the ships are unseaworthy and most often excessively overloaded. In addition, they have no rescue equipment and the conditions on board are inhumane.
Coast Guard Joseph Tezanos then encountered a Dominican Republic Navy ship just off Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where the crew transferred and completed the repatriation of migrants to Dominican Republic Navy authorities. .