SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard returned 56 nationals to the Dominican Republic Saturday, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico.
The interdiction is the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.
“This case was a very close call” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander. “The interdicted vessel was in extremely poor condition, grossly overloaded and highly unstable. Fortunately, the quick response of all Coast Guard units saved the persons in this voyage and averted a tragic outcome. We remain gravely concerned for the safety of people embarking on illegal voyages and strongly caution they not take to the sea. Their lives will be in danger.”
Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez interdicted a 30-foot makeshift boat Friday night, initially detected by the aircrew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, approximately 8 nautical miles southeast of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen launched an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter to provide air coverage and rescue support due to a very high probability that the vessel could capsize. Following the interdiction, the crew of the cutter Heriberto Hernandez safely embarked all the passengers from the makeshift boat.
Since October 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022, the Coast Guard has carried out 64 illegal voyage interdictions in Mona Passage and Caribbean waters near Puerto Rico. Interdicted during this period, are 1,706 non-U.S. citizens comprised mostly of Dominican Republic and Haitian nationals (1,235 Dominicans, 370 Haitians, 01 Cuban, 1 Ecuadorian, 52 Venezuelan, 12 Uzbek, 35 Unknown)”.
- 617 Dominican, 83 Haitians, 7 Brazilian in Fiscal Year 2021 (Total migrants = 707)
- 1,095 Dominican, 11 Haitians, 3 Venezuelan, 13 Unknown in Fiscal Year 2020 (Total migrants= 1,122)
- 1,027 Dominican, 10 Haitians, 3 Brazilian, 1 Cuban in Fiscal Year 2019 (Total migrants = 1,041)