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December 6, 2012

Coast Guard repatriates 13 Cubans rescued by fishermen off Keys

The Coast Guard on Thursday handed over to Cuba authorities 13 migrants who were saved from a sinking boat south of the Keys last week.

The Coast Guard on Thursday handed over to Cuba authorities 13 migrants who were saved from a sinking boat south of the Keys last week.

A fishing boat, the Rosa Marie, rescued the would-be migrants Nov. 30 from a foundering 15-foot craft south of Marquesas, according to a Coast Guard statement. A 110-foot cutter, the Ocracoke, took custody of the Cubans and eventually turned them over to the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Pea Island.

The migrants were dropped off at Bahia de Cabañas, the port designated for repatriations under the 1990s U.S.-Cuban migration accords.

The announcement included a stern warning from the Coast Guard’s chief of law enforcement for the Miami District. Capt. Brendan McPherson cited the extreme risk to migrants trying to “illegally enter the United States ... aboard dangerously overloaded and ill-equipped vessels."

“The Coast Guard with our partner agencies will continue to patrol vigilantly to rescue and repatriate undocumented migrants who take to the sea,” said McPherson.

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