SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley (WPC-1117) repatriated 11 Dominican migrants to a Dominican navy patrol vessel June 19 in waters just off Samana, Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage in the Mona Passage, the Coast Guard 7th District said in a release.
The interdiction is the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG). Since October 2018, the Coast Guard and CBIG partner federal and state agencies have interdicted over 1,523 migrants at sea near Puerto Rico and the U.S. Islands.
During a routine patrol June 17, the crew of patrolling Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft detected a 20-foot fiberglass migrant boat transiting towards Puerto Rico, about 20 nautical miles north northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the cutter Donald Horsley to interdict the suspect vessel. Upon arriving on scene, the Donald Horsley crew stopped the blue and white makeshift boat with 11 migrants onboard, nine men and two women, who claimed Dominican nationality. Horsley crew members proceeded to embark all the migrants from the makeshift boat that was taking on water and in danger of sinking.
“I am proud of my crew for saving 11 people from a small, grossly overloaded boat traveling in very dangerous sea conditions,” said Lt. Christopher Martin, commanding officer of the Donald Horsley. “Crossing the Mona Passage is an extremely dangerous journey, especially in the case of illegal voyages, in which migrants risk their lives by trusting smugglers who transport them in inhumane conditions on boats that are not safe to navigate and do not have any safety equipment on board.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
The cutter Donald Horsley is a 154-foot fast-response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.