The U.S Coast Guard said one of its cutters repatriated 46 Cubans to Cuba on Tuesday, following multiple interdictions off the coast of Florida this week.
The figure comes as the Coast Guard overall has seen a sharp increase in migration from Cuba to the United States, both by sea and via Mexico, as the island nation battles economic hardships.
Around 7 a.m. on Monday, Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders responded to a call of a “rustic vessel” spotted about 5 miles south of Vaca Key.
Just a couple of hours later, Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders responded to another call of a rustic vessel, this time about 20 miles southeast of Snake Creek.
Later that afternoon, Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton’s crew alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of a rustic vessel some 35 miles south of Marquesas Keys.
About two hours later, Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders were alerted to yet another rustic vessel about 23 miles south of Key West.
“We urge people not to take to the sea in unseaworthy vessels,” Coast Guard District Seven Lt. Travis Poulos said in a statement. “Navigating the seas in unseaworthy vessels is extremely dangerous and can lead to loss of life.”
The Coast Guard says it has interdicted more than 3,000 Cubans since October 1, 2021.