A boat with 70 Haitians on way to U.S. turns around after confronted by Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard District 7

The journey of about 70 Haitian migrants trying to reach the United States was cut short Sunday after U.S. and Haitian Coast Guard crews stopped a 40-foot boat in the Caribbean.

Officials said nearly six dozen migrants were on the voyage. Their freighter was halted 26 miles north of Cap Haïtien at about 1:30 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it “launched a smallboat crew to question the people aboard. Upon detection, the freighter changed course back south to Haiti.”

That’s when the U.S. Coast Guard continued to shadow the vessel and contacted the Haitian Coast Guard, which arrived at about 9:30 a.m. to relieve U.S. officials.

“This case highlights a critical component to the success of curbing illegal immigration in the Caribbean and that is of our international partners, and in this case specifically, the Haitian Coast Guard,” said Capt. Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response for the Coast Guard’s 7th District. “The close cooperation between both U.S. Coast Guard and Haitian Coast Guard operational teams in this instance helped prevent a dangerous and ill-advised illegal migrant voyage from potentially capsizing and ending tragically as we unfortunately have seen happen recently.”

Monique O. Madan covers immigration and enterprise; she previously covered breaking news and local government. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and The Dallas Morning News. She is currently a Reveal Fellow at the Center for Investigative Reporting. She graduated from Miami Dade College and Emerson College in Boston. A note to tipsters: If you want to send Monique confidential information, her email and mailbox are open. The address is 3511 NW 91st Ave, Doral, FL 33172. You can also direct message her on social media and she’ll provide encrypted Signal details.