MIAMI — The Coast Guard intercepted two illegal voyages Nov. 22 off the coast of Puerto Rico, the Coast Guard 7th District said in a Nov. 24 release.
Puerto Rican Border Patrol (FURA) detected a 20-foot vessel with 12 migrants aboard, 11 Dominican Republic and one Guatemalan migrant — including 11 adult males and one adult female — approximately four miles west of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier (WPC-1115)crew embarked the migrants and safely transferred them to the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos (WPC-1118) crew.
FURA detected a second 20-foot vessel with 13 migrants aboard, nine Dominican Republic and four Brazilian migrants, including 12 adult males and one adult female, approximately 1 mile northwest of Punta Borinquen, Puerto Rico. The Joseph Tezanos crew arrived on scene and embarked the migrants who were later transferred to the Dominican Republic Navy.
“The close collaboration and efficient coordination between the Puerto Rico Border Patrol and fellow Caribbean Border Interagency group partner agencies resulted in two successful interdictions and the safe removal of all 25 migrants,” said Lt. Anthony Orr, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos.“With the consistent danger these smuggling ventures present, our crews remain vigilant to protect lives and enforce U.S. law.”
The Coast Guard has interdicted approximately 101 Dominican migrants so far this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2020. In fiscal year 2020, the Coast Guard crews interdicted 1,117 Dominican migrants who attempted to illegally migrate via maritime means. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean.
All migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention once aboard a Coast Guard cutter. Throughout the interdiction Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.