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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Jan. 27, 2022

Frontline Focus: Coast Guard, partner agency intercept 88 Haitians near Great Inagua, Bahamas, and more.

By Janki Patel, MyCG Writer

Coast Guard, partner agency intercept 88 Haitians near Great Inagua, Bahamas. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) intercepted 88 Haitians aboard an overloaded sail freighter, Jan. 21. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and was forward-deployed to Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos located a blue and red sail freighter with 88 people aboard. While on scene, the Jayhawk aircrew vectored two RBDF ships to the overloaded sail freighter where the 88 migrants were taken aboard the RBDF Her Majesty’s Bahamian Ship (HMBS) Leon Livingston Smith and RBDF HMBS Nassau. "Coast Guard crews continue to have a presence patrolling the waters around Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas, to ensure safety of life at sea," said Capt. Benjamin Golightly, Coast Guard Seventh District chief of response. "Navigating the Florida straits, Windward and Mona Passages in overloaded and less than seaworthy passages is extremely dangerous and can result in loss of life. The Coast Guard and our partner agencies will continue to stop these voyages. You will be interdicted and should expect to be returned and repatriated to your country of origin." Read more

Coast Guard rescues 6 from distressed sailing vessel near Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard air and surface crews rescued a Russian, a Kazakh, and four Uzbek men from a distressed sailing vessel, Jan 20. The six survivors were traveling aboard the 35-foot sailing vessel, Sojourner, in international waters east of Mona Island, Puerto Rico when their vessel reportedly started taking on water. “Thanks to the skill and professionalism of the crews of Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser and Air Station Borinquen, we were able to rescue six lives under extremely challenging circumstances,” said Lt. Ben Williamsz, Cutter Winslow Griesser commanding officer. “This case highlights the dangers of putting to sea and the vital importance carrying and maintaining all required safety equipment.” Read more.

Coast Guard repatriates 90 Dominicans to the Dominican Republic, following 3 illegal voyage interdictions near Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon repatriated 90 Dominicans to the Dominican Republic, Jan. 16, following the interdiction of three illegal voyages near Puerto Rico. The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG). “These successful interdictions were possible thanks to excellent coordination and collaboration between the Coast Guard and our local and federal partners within the Caribbean Border Interagency Group,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “Together, we stand ready, and respond daily to protect our nation’s maritime border from illegal voyages and other existing threats. To anyone thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, we urge you not to take to the sea! Your life and the life of everyone else taking part in the voyage will be in great danger. The sea-state conditions of the Mona Passage are dangerous and quite unpredictable, especially for these grossly overloaded makeshift vessels that most often are unseaworthy and have no lifesaving equipment onboard.” Read more

Coast Guard rescues kayaker near Slidell, La.  A helicopter rescue crew aboard a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter rescued a stranded 86-year-old kayaker, Jan. 15. The helicopter crew arrived on scene, safely hoisted the kayaker, and transported him to awaiting emergency medical services personnel at Air Station New Orleans. The man was last reported to be in stable condition. Read more

Navy, Coast Guard stop boat in Caribbean with suspected cocaine shipment worth $22 million. A joint boarding team of Navy Sailors and Coast Guard law enforcement officers seized an estimated $22 million in suspected cocaine, Jan. 7. While on patrol, a maritime patrol aircraft spotted a suspected drug smuggling go-fast vessel (GFV) and vectored in the USS Milwaukee, with embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 402. “There is an electric atmosphere onboard and anytime we can accomplish a mission that has a direct impact on making America safer, it contributes to that winning mindset,” said Cmdr. Brian Forster, USS Milwaukee’s commanding officer. “The crew is excited to have accomplished our first boarding, and they performed flawlessly from start to finish. It is a good feeling knowing that a large number of drugs will not make it onto the streets of America or our partners in the Caribbean.” Read more.