The Coast Guard returned 86 individuals again to Cuba Friday aboard a cutter. They had been stopped at sea in separate migrant incidents off the Florida Keys all through the week.
The Coast Guard stated in an announcement that the seven stops occurred Saturday to Wednesday. The service urged individuals from Cuba to not make the damaging journey throughout the Florida Straits, and likewise for households within the U.S. to inform family members on the island to not take to the seas.
“Illegally crossing the unpredictable Florida Straits in rustic, makeshift vessels is very dangerous and can result in loss of life,” stated Lt. Cmdr. Mark Cobb, a Coast Guard District Seven enforcement officer.
The Coast Guard launched a number of images of the makeshift boats the individuals used to sail to South Florida, together with one which was barely greater than a picket grocery pallet.
South Florida is within the midst of a maritime migrant surge from Cuba and Haiti since October.
The Coast Guard stated Friday that its crews have stopped 1,779 individuals between Cuba and South Florida since Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal yr. That’s the busiest the company has been since fiscal yr 2016, when 5,396 individuals from Cuba have been stopped at sea.
Haitian maritime migration is at a excessive not seen since 2004, with about 4,500 individuals having been intercepted on the ocean to date this fiscal yr.
One of these journeys turned tragic Thursday when an overloaded boat carrying principally individuals from Haiti and a few from the Dominican Republic capsized close to an uninhabited island off Puerto Rico’s western coast within the Mona Passage separating Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.
At least 11 individuals died, in line with the Coast Guard.
On Friday, Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of Coast Guard District 7, stated the search continues for extra survivors.
“Our hope and prayers are with the survivors and those still missing,” McPherson stated in an announcement. “Our highest priority is saving lives, and that is what my crews will exhaust themselves doing.”
He stated that the Coast Guard is being joined within the search by Puerto Rican authorities and crews from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations.
“The sea is dangerous,” McPherson stated. “These ventures are dangerous.”