Monday, August 15, 2022
Basseterre
few clouds
30.2 ° C
30.2 °
30.2 °
66 %
3.1kmh
20 %
Tue
30 °
Wed
28 °
Thu
28 °
Fri
28 °
Sat
28 °

Sailboat Packed with 150 Haiti Migrants Found by the Coast Guard After Running Aground off Florida

- Advertisement -
  • The US Coast Guard and other partner agencies intercepted the sailboat after it had run aground on Thursday
  • Migrants were transferred from the ‘overloaded and unsafe sailing vessel’ to the Coast Guard cutter crews

 

The U.S. Coast Guard averted what may have been a disaster when it intercepted a ramshackle sailboat packed with more than 150 Haitian migrants including several children off the coast of Florida.

Extraordinary images show at least 150 men, women and young children crowded on the boat with no floor place to move on the wooden vessel, which had run aground near Boca Chita Key, south of Miami.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Miami-Dade police and other law enforcement agencies were on the scene after they intercepted the sailboat on Thursday morning.

The US agencies deployed four boats to surround the ramshackle sailboat before moving closer to toss the migrants life jackets and water.

The migrants were transferred from the ‘overloaded and unsafe sailing vessel’ to the Coast Guard cutter crews, officials said. The Miami Fire Department transferred four people to Homestead Hospital for medical treatment.

The migrants will then be repatriated to their country of origin, the US Coast Guard said.

A crumbling economy and and a spike in gang-related violence and kidnappings has prompted thousands of Haitians to flee their country in the past year.

The U.S. Coast Guard averted what may have been a disaster when it intercepted a ramshackle sailboat packed with more than 150 Haitian migrants including several children off the coast of Florida

Extraordinary images show at least 150 men, women and young children crowded on the boat with no floor place to move on the wooden vessel, which had run aground near Islandia, south of Miami

Extraordinary images show at least 150 men, women and young children crowded on the boat with no floor place to move on the wooden vessel, which had run aground near Islandia, south of Miami

A sailboat containing approximately 150 migrants is anchored after being intercepted by U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday

A sailboat containing approximately 150 migrants is anchored after being intercepted by U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday

The U.S. Coast Guard, Miami-Dade police and other law enforcement agencies were on the scene after they intercepted the sailboat on Thursday morning

The U.S. Coast Guard, Miami-Dade police and other law enforcement agencies were on the scene after they intercepted the sailboat on Thursday morning

A U.S. Coast Guard boat sails next to a sailboat containing approximately 150 migrants on July 21, 2022 in Islandia, Florida

A U.S. Coast Guard boat sails next to a sailboat containing approximately 150 migrants on July 21, 2022 in Islandia, Florida

The US agencies deployed four boats to surround the ramshackle sailboat before moving closer to toss the migrants life jackets and water

The US agencies deployed four boats to surround the ramshackle sailboat before moving closer to toss the migrants life jackets and water

Extraordinary images show at least 150 men, women and young children crowded on the boat with no floor place to move on the wooden vessel, which had run aground near Boca Chita Key, south of Miami

Local Carl Ball was fishing when he saw the overcrowded sailboat filled with people – and within minutes the agencies arrived at the scene.

‘As I went south, I saw a sailboat sideways and the sails were off to the side and an MDFR boat was next to it,’ Ball told Local 10. ‘They were standing up there on the deck.’

Officials have not confirmed where the migrants are from, but they are believed to be from Haiti where people are facing gang violence and kidnappings and a shortage of both fuel and electricity is threatening daily life for millions.

In addition to their deadly battles in Port-au-Prince, where at least 234 people have been killed or injured in the Cite Soleil neighborhood since early July, Haitian gangs have also hampered activity at the country’s three main oil terminals.

Armed groups regularly block access to the facilities, halting the flow of fuel into the country.

Human rights activists in Haiti say those fleeing believe they are safer taking the risk on an overcrowded boat than staying in their country.

‘You got to think how desperate they are to hop in a boat like that with that many people on there,’ Ball said. ‘Your heart really goes out to those people.’

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, a Haitian-American, said in a statement: ‘It is well known that the political, health, and safety situations in Haiti are dire.

‘Many of those Haitian nationals arriving in the USA are certainly asylum seekers fleeing political turmoil. It is my hope that President Biden, his Administration and our legal system treat these migrants with humanity.’

The migrants were transferred from the ‘overloaded and unsafe sailing vessel’ to the Coast Guard cutter crews, officials said

A sailboat containing approximately 150 migrants is anchored on July 21, 2022 in Islandia, Florida

A U.S. Coast Guard boat sails next to a sailboat containing approximately 150 migrants on July 21

A FWC law enforcement officer helps people on a sailboat containing approximately 150 migrants on Thursday

A crumbling economy and and a spike in gang-related violence and kidnappings has prompted thousands of Haitians to flee their country in the past year

A US customs and Border Protection boat pulls alongside a sailboat containing approximately 150 migrants on Thursday

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is refusing to restore the Biden administration’s immigration policy that limited who Homeland Security authorities could arrest and deport.

The guidance, which was instituted in a memorandum last September, instructed officials to prioritize the deportation of illegal immigrants who pose the greatest national security or public safety risk.

Last month, a Texas judge blocked the order, saying the directive was unlawful and the administration had overstepped its ‘bounds set by Congress.’

In its order Thursday, the high court left the policy frozen nationwide and instead set the case for oral arguments during the first week of December.

The vote was 5-4, with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett joining liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson in saying they would have allowed the Biden administration to put in place the guidance.

The order is the first public vote by Jackson since she joined the court June 30 following the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer.

In May, a boat carrying 842 Haitians trying to reach the United States wound up instead on the coast of central Cuba, in what appeared to be the largest group seen yet in a swelling exodus from crisis-stricken Haiti.

U.S. authorities say the number of Haitian migrants detained in and around U.S. jurisdictions in the Caribbean has doubled.

In May, the U.S. Coast Guard said it stopped a sail freighter carrying 153 Haitian migrants near the Florida Keys.

Earlier in May, the Coast Guard rescued 36 Haitian migrants and found 11 others dead — all women — after a boat capsized northwest of Puerto Rico.

The rescue came just days after 68 migrants were rescued in treacherous waters between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Human rights activists in Haiti say those fleeing believe they are safer taking the risk on an overcrowded boat than staying in their country

In April, the U.S. Coast Guard spotted more than 130 Haitian migrants aboard a boat near the Bahamas. A month prior, 140 migrants landed in the Florida Keys.

U.S. Coast Guard crews have interdicted about 4,500 Haitians since October. Many were trying to come ashore in the Florida Keys in overloaded vessels. More than 3,000 of those migrants have been found since mid-March, signaling the pace has been picking up in the spring.

In Haiti, residents are facing a shortage in fuel and electricity. They are forced to turn to the black market, where gasoline and diesel are readily available – but at prices six times higher than the rate set by the government.

‘You can find fuel everywhere, except in the gas stations,’ says Yvon Janvier, a law professor.

With little legal fuel available, and soaring black-market prices, Jeremie’s least well-off residents are forced to take their journeys by foot.

The vast majority of energy in Haiti is produced by diesel-burning plants, so ‘it’s very simple: no fuel, no electricity,’ says Janvier.

Jose Davilmar, administrative director of the country’s public electricity utility (EDH), says there are ‘enormous difficulties in transporting fuel to certain provincial towns.’

‘Most recently, three boats loaded with fuel could not dock because there were retaliations by bandits in Cite Soleil.’

With control of only two short kilometers (1.2 miles) of national highway in Martissant, a poor suburb of Port-au-Prince, gangs have gained power over the flow of goods to half the country.

Armed groups have had total control over the only paved road leading to Haiti’s southern regions since June 2021.

Without electricity from power plants, entire regions of the country must turn to gas-powered generators to keep the lights on.

For those who cannot afford their own generator, daily life has become a headache.

In Jacmel, on Haiti’s southern coast, painter Joseph Stevenson must ask among his neighbors to see who has power each time he needs to charge his phone.

‘Sometimes I have to go all the way downtown to get just a few percent of a charge,’ says the artist.

‘Can you imagine that, in the 21st century?’

- Advertisement -

Copyrighted Image. Copying not allowed.