While on routine patrol, crew members from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant spotted a Bahamian-flagged 28-foot vessel without navigation lights northwest of Port de Paix, Haiti on Thursday. Once Vigilant crew members arrived on scene with the vessel, they discovered 35 Haitians and two Indian migrants aboard. The migrants were safely transferred from the 28-foot vessel to the USCG Vigilant.
The 35 Haitian migrants were subsequently transferred to the Mohawk for repatriation.
The vessel and two Indian migrants were turned over to Royal Bahamas Defence Force officials in Great Inagua on Friday morning for further investigation.
“The U.S. Coast Guard and its partners maintain a robust patrol presence throughout the Caribbean Sea to deter illicit maritime activity,” said Capt. Peter Brown, chief of response operations for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “Our primary concern is for the safety of these migrants, who are putting their lives at extreme risk in grossly overloaded vessels.”
Once aboard a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical care.
The Mohawk is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter home-ported in Key West, Fla.
The Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter home-ported in Port Canaveral, Fla.