More than 200 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic were rescued at sea during the course of one week and repatriated to their countries of origin, the U.S. Coast Guard reported Monday.
Through Sunday, the Coast Guard repatriated 88 undocumented Cuban migrants to Cuba, 82 Haitians to Haiti and 41 Dominicans and two Cubans to the Dominican Republic.
“In addition, 17 migrants suspected of various crimes were brought to Miami and Puerto Rico for further investigation,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The Coast Guard cutter Dependable picked up many of the immigrants when an overloaded boat with 82 Haitians on board was sighted south of Great Inagua in the Bahamas.
During the first few days of last week, two cruise ships, the Norwegian Pearl and the Carnival Ecstasy rescued a total of 65 Cuban immigrants who were sailing in different boats in the dangerous waters of the Florida Strait.
“Although there were no reported deaths in any of these cases, all of them could have ended tragically,” Todd Lutes, chief of incident management for the Coast Guard Seventh District, said.
“Not one of the boats had lifesaving or navigation equipment and nearly all of them were experiencing signs of distress and taking on water,” he said.
In another case, a Coast Guard helicopter rescued a dozen Cubans from an uninhabited island in the Bahamas after their boat ran aground, and about 50 Dominicans and two Cubans were intercepted in the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.