HAVANA - It was a good Samaritan boat that alerted Coast Guard officials about a disabled wooden sail vessel with 26 Cuban migrants onboard.
It happened Tuesday, 48 miles southwest of Long Key, said a Coast Guard statement. A U.S. Navy ship conducting maritime operations in the area assisted the vessel in distress.
"It is fortunate that the vessel did not capsize or end in tragedy, as we have seen all too recently in the Florida straits, and we are grateful for the assistance by the good Samaritan and the US Navy in this case,” said Capt. Jason Ryan, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard's Seventh District in Miami.
The USS James E. Williams helped transfer the migrants to a Coast Guard Cutter. At around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, 25 migrants were repatriated to Cuba. Another was transferred to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for possible prosecution.
"Illegal migrant ventures on unsafe and ill-equipped vessels are not only against the law but incredibly dangerous," Ryan said.
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