The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier rescued 19 stranded Haitians on Sunday.
Smugglers abandoned the group on the rocky cliffs of the uninhabited natural reserve of Monito Island, Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard said it received the information on Thursday.
But rough sea conditions delayed rescue efforts until Sunday when conditions improved and allowed the cutter Joseph Napier’s Over the Horizon boat to approach Monito Island, eventually rescuing all the abandoned Haitians.
The Coast Guard crew transported the group, comprising ten men and nine women, to Ramey Sector U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
“People are risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones at sea without realizing how dangerous these voyages can be,” lamented Lieutenant Devonte Weems, Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier’s commanding officer.
Since October 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022, the Coast Guard has carried out 14 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico.
Interdicted during the period were 419 non-U.S. citizens, including 327 Dominicans, 91 Haitians, and one person of unknown nationality.
Headline photo: Screen grab from US Coast Guard Facebook page video.