31 Cubans missing after shipwreck off Florida
MIAMI (Reuters) – The U.S. Coast Guard searched on Monday
for 31 Cubans reported missing at sea after their boat capsized
between Florida and Cuba.
Three survivors were plucked out of the water by the crew
of a merchant ship about 30 miles north of Matanzas, Cuba, on
Sunday night and told their rescuers their speedboat had
overturned with 31 other people aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard
The survivors were taken ashore in Cuba and Cuban
authorities alerted the U.S. Coast Guard. Search crews found a
capsized boat in the area on Monday but had not found any more
A Coast Guard spokesman said he did not know whether any
passengers had life vests or if the voyage was a migrant
“We haven’t talked to the three who were rescued so
everything we’re getting is coming from the Cuban government,”
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Doss said.
Under immigration accords between the United States and
Cuba, Cuban migrants stopped at sea are generally taken home.
But undocumented Cubans who reach U.S. shores are usually
allowed to stay, a policy that Cuba says encourages migrants to
attempt the dangerous voyage in overloaded or unseaworthy
The Coast Guard has intercepted an increasing number of
Cuban migrants at sea this year, though nothing like what
occurred in the 1994 rafter crisis when more than 30,000 tried
to make the voyage to Florida.
They have halted 2,366 Cubans at sea since the start of the
fiscal year on October 1, up from 1,225 last year and the
biggest number since 1994.