(CMR) Eight Cuban migrants who were found adrift at sea 35 miles from Cuba by a vessel that contacted the Cayman Islands were returned to their homeland.
The Cayman Islands Coast Guard Operation’s & Rescue Coordination Centre (CICG ORCC) received a call on 14 December from a vessel named the MV Hellespont Pride advising that they found eight (8) Cuban nationals adrift at approximately 35 miles south of mainland Cuba.
This call came days after diplomatic talks were held between the Cayman Islands Government and a delegation from Cuba. The talks included strategies aiming for greater search and rescue coordination to save lives, shortening the time it takes to return migrants to Cuba, and targeting human smugglers for prosecution.
The CICG ORCC contacted the Cuban Border Guard (CBG) and informed them of the information from the vessel and inquired if they were in a position to meet with MV Hellespont Pride to disembark the eight (8) Cubans nationals. The CBG confirmed that they could meet the MV Hellespont Pride just outside of Cuban territorial waters, precisely thirteen (13) miles from Port of Santiago de Cuba.
The CICG ORCC contacted the owners of the MV Hellespont Pride and facilitated a direct line of communication between the two entities for the rescue to take place.
The Captain of the MV Hellespont Pride met with the CBG Patrol Vessel at the agreed location, whereby the Cuban Nationals were then transported back to Cuba.
The Cayman Islands Government has been working to implement laws to help address the large number of Cuban migrants arriving on its shores.