Boat Information

  • Vessel name: Ato
  • Arrival: May 17, 1980
  • Captain: n/a
  • Size: n/a
  • Use: n/a
  • Onboard when departed US: 2
  • Crew: n/a
  • Refugees: 49
  • Total people onboard: 51
  • Coast guard remarks: Mr. Guyer CG detained for safety reasons, temper. Cleared & released on 7/9/80 BMC Tilton

Memories from the Passengers

Jose R. Torrella's memory of Ato

I was the captain of this vessel. This was a 42 footer wood lobster boat with one diesel engine and a two gas burner stove Left Miami from Nuta's Boat Yard with Mr. L. Martinez as crew member on the early hours of April 15 and picked up our relati (read the rest of this memory)ves, Mayra A. Villarrenaga and Mrs. L. Martinez at the mouth of the Miami River known as the Dupont Plaza because the local radio had just said that the Cuban government was only going to release the people to relatives. Headed to Key West for more supplies and clothes for our new crew members who had no other clothes but the ones on their back. Picked up another 8 persons in Key West who had no money to pay for their boat ride to Mariel They purchased their canned food ice and drinks and then we all headed to Cuba. All of them transferred eventually to other vessels as their relatives were being released to them. Due to a navigational error I ended up by Matanzas and was intercepted by a gun boat who pointed me in the right direction. Got to see La Cabana, El Morro, el malecon which I had not seen since 1962 when I left in the Pedro Pan exodus. Mariel was beautiful and the water very clean and that didn't last long because of the hundreds of boat that started arriving soon after my arrival. Never received my relatives, however, my crew members did and we headed back to the land of the free. Saw a couple of over turned boats on the way back to Key West which had already been marked by the Coast Guard. God Bless America !