A US Coast Guard crew from Boston returned to port Saturday after a 45-day patrol near the Bahamas, during which they intercepted 151 Haitian migrants over a two-day period, officials said.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca interdicted 73 migrants crammed on to a 50-foot boat on Aug. 9 and another 78 on a 40-foot boat on Aug. 11, the Coast Guard said in a press release.
Lieutenant Commander Krystyn Pecora said the numbers were not unusually large by Coast Guard standards, which intercepts thousands of migrants on the seas every year, many of whom are returned home. Migrants found in waters around the Bahamas are generally brought to shore and left to the country’s immigration system, she said.
Pecora said the Coast Guard has not altered its mission to intercept migrants from crowded conditions, despite the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. Part of the agency’s goal is to rescue migrants from crowded conditions, she said.
“It’s a safety of life at sea issue, if you have 70 or 80 people in a 30 or 40-foot boat. ... Crowding and potential loss of life is high,” she said in an interview. “ The Coast Guard’s focus on this is to make sure those people are safely brought to shore.”