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The Coast Guard repatriated 51 Cuban migrants on Wednesday detained in four interceptions “due to safety concerns of life at sea,” officials said.
According to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard’s 7th District, the first interception of “a suspicious rustic vessel with twin outboard engines” was made last Sunday.
Without mentioning the number of Cubans traveling on the vessel, the federal agency indicates that the detention occurred approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Anguilla Cay in the Bahamas.
Allegedly a smuggling venture, one person was transferred to the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) “for further investigation.”
The remaining interceptions of “rustic vessels” occurred last Monday. One of them was 25 miles (40 km) from Key Largo, another 20 miles (32 km) from Key West, and the last one was 52 miles (83 km) from the latter islet popularly known as “Cayo Hueso.”
“These cases spotlight the important DHS (Department of Homeland Security) partnerships and collaborations that occur every day in South Florida and the Caribbean,” Coast Guard spokesman Gerald Burgess said.
Since last Oct. 1, Coast Guard crews intercepted 339 Cubans compared to 5,396 migrants from the same country in fiscal year 2016, 1,468 in 2017, and 259 in fiscal year 2018.
There were 313 Cuban migrants intercepted at sea in 2019, 49 in 2020 and the figure rose significantly to 838 in 2021.
“Once aboard a federal entity ship, all migrants receive food, water, shelter, equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19 and basic medical attention,” the institution pointed out.