FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday repatriated 33 migrants to Haiti after an interdiction near Fort Pierce Inlet on Feb. 3.
A good Samaritan notified Sector Miami watchstanders of a grounded fishing vessel at approximately 10:30 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.
“U.S. maritime borders are not open to unauthorized entry or illicit trafficking,” Lt. Cmdr. Sean Newmeyer, Coast Guard District Seven, said in a news release. “Coast Guard and our partners are committed to stopping illegal ventures, preventing unsafe voyages at sea and enforcing U.S. immigration laws and regulations.”
The Coast Guard and its Homeland Security Task Force — Southeast partners have a presence in the air and on the waters.
Since Oct. 1, Coast Guard crews repatriated 53 migrants to Haiti.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
Originally, 32 Haitian migrants were listed as running aground and were taken into custody, agencies confirmed.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including Air Marine Operations and Border Patrol, was the lead agency with assistance from U.S. Coast Guard; St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, including its helicopter; and Fort Pierce police.
St. Lucie County Sheriff's Keith Pearson near the scene told WPTV photojournalist Jeff Ringrose his personnel assisted with a boatful of migrants that ran aground on a Wesley's Island sand bar between Bird Island and South Causeway Park.