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U.S. Coast Guard Keeps 22 Dominicans From Coming To America Illegally By Sea

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos repatriated 22 migrants to the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

The migrants were interdicted as the result of two separate cases by the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser in the Mona Pass during efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group.

“Both of these vessels were overloaded and underpowered, posing an immense risk of potentially capsizing and endangering the lives of all persons aboard,” said Lt. Luke Walsh, cutter Winslow Griesser commanding officer. “The outstanding coordination between Sector San Juan and Coast Guard aircraft allowed the crew of Winslow Griesser to quickly respond and remove all persons to safety.”

During a routine patrol of the Mona Passage Monday night, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft detected a grossly overloaded 25-foot migrant boat, approximately 35 nautical miles northeast of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic traveling toward Puerto Rico without navigational lights. Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser to interdict the vessel. Shortly thereafter, the Winslow Griesser arrived on scene and stopped the migrant vessel. The Winslow Griesser crew safely embarked all 18 migrants, 17 men and a woman of Dominican nationality.

In a separate case Tuesday night, the Coast Guard HC-144 crew detected a 12-foot migrant vessel in Mona Passage international waters traveling toward Puerto Rico without navigational lights, approximately 30 nautical miles northeast of Cabo Engaño, Dominican Republic. Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the Winslow Griesser to interdict the vessel. The Winslow Griesser arrived on scene, stopped the migrant boat and embarked all four men of Dominican Republic nationality.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

The cutter Joseph Tezanos transferred the migrants to the crew of a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat to be repatriated to the Dominican Republic.

The Winslow Griesser and Joseph Tezanos are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in San Juan.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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