SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier repatriated 76 Dominicans and three Venezuelan nationals to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Wednesday just off Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, following three separate illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage Tuesday.
The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.
“I’m extremely proud of the Joseph Napier crew, who alongside other responding Coast Guard and CBP aircrews, performed exceptionally well in what turned out to be a very busy day and night interdicting three illegal voyage vessels and saving the lives of the people who were aboard,” said Lt. Devonte Weems, Cutter Joseph Napier Commanding Officer. “In these cases, the vessels are most often unseaworthy, grossly overloaded, and lack sufficient lifesaving equipment. For those that take to the sea for illegal voyages, please understand that your life will be in danger.”
The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier interdicted the first of illegal voyage Tuesday afternoon after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine multi-role enforcement aircraft initially detected a 30-foot makeshift vessel, approximately 80 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla. Following the interdiction, the cutter safely embarked all the people from the makeshift vessel.
The aircrew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected a second illegal voyage vessel Tuesday night, approximately 68 nautical miles west-northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The cutter Joseph Napier diverted to the scene and stopped the 35-foot makeshift vessel with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat. The cutter crew safely embarked all the people from the makeshift vessel.
During the third interdiction, the aircrew of Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine multi-role enforcement aircraft initially detected a suspect vessel Tuesday night, approximately 69 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Cutter Joseph Napier diverted once more and interdicted the 35-foot suspect vessel. The cutter crew safely embarked all the people from the makeshift vessel.
Since October 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, the Coast Guard has carried out 72 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico. Interdicted during this period, are 1,919 non-US citizens including 1,414 Dominicans, 404 Haitians, 01 Cuban, 1 Ecuadorian, 52 Venezuelan, 12 Uzbek, and 35 of unknown nationalities.