SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley crew returned 96 migrants to the Dominican Republic, Tuesday, following three vessel interdictions in Mona Passage waters off the west coast of Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard, along with Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast partners, maintains a continual presence with air, land, and sea assets in the Florida Straits, the Windward Passage, the Mona Passage and the Caribbean Sea, collaborating to protect safety of life at sea. With their combined multi-layered approach, they were able to interdict several unlawful, irregular maritime migration events over the past days.
“We urge anyone seeking to cross the Mona Passage by any unlawful means to not take to the sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Edward Kunigonis, Sector San Juan chief of enforcement. “These voyages are highly dangerous and most often take place aboard grossly overloaded and unseaworthy vessels that have no lifesaving equipment. If you are caught, you could also face possible prosecution, be returned to your country of origin, or be disqualified from entering the United States legally in the future.”
During the first interdiction event, the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley interdicted a 35-foot makeshift vessel, after an aircrew detected the suspect vessel west of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Sunday. The crew of the Cutter Donald Horsley embarked all 64 adult migrants of which 62 claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals, and two others claimed to be Haitians.
In the second interdiction, the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley interdicted a 23-foot makeshift Monday morning, after watchstanders received a distress call on VHF Channel 16 of a vessel takin on water southwest of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Monday morning. The crew of the Cutter Donald Horsley arrived on scene and embarked two adult migrants, including one Haitian and a Dominican Republic national.
During the third interdiction, the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley interdicted a 25-foot makeshift vessel, after the aircrew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected the suspect vessel northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Monday evening. The crew of the Donald Horsley embarked 30 adult migrants of which 26 claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals, and the remaining four who claimed to be Haitians.
The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley crew transferred all 96 migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel just off the coast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Tuesday.
Since Oct. 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023, the Coast Guard has carried out 31 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico. Interdicted during this period, are 992 non-U.S. citizens including 758 Dominicans, 211 Haitians, 13 Venezuelans, seven Kazakhs, one Albanian and one other unknown nationality.
Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley is 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact family members who are U.S. residents to follow the same process on your behalf.
Make a difference on land, sea or in the air with the U.S. Coast Guard. Visit https://www.gocoastguard.com to find out how to be a part of the team.
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