A group of 27 Cuban migrants tried to come ashore to Key West but were stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard said late Thursday.
The migrants were in an 18-foot chug. The group was found July 27, and included 22 men, four women and one child. The Coast Guard said all were safely put aboard a cutter.
They will all be sent back to Cuba.
“These illegal ventures attempting to immigrate to the United States are extremely dangerous, especially during the hurricane season when weather and sea conditions can dramatically and rapidly change in minutes putting migrants in danger of being lost at sea,” said Capt. Jason Ryan, chief of enforcement branch of the Coast Guard 7th District.
A good Samaritan vessel reported a possible migrant vessel to the watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West. The boaters said they could overhear people talking but couldn’t see any people or a vessel, the Coast Guard said.
The watchstanders launched a station boat and also sent the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore to help.
“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies’ first priority is safety of life at sea and these voyages in ill-equipped vessels aren’t safe,” Ryan said.
About 438 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. on the ocean in fiscal year 2019 compared to 384 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2018, the Coast Guard said.
These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.