Friday, June 27, 2014

Drifting Cuban migrants ordered to leave Cayman waters

Drifting Cuban migrants ordered to leave Cayman waters

GEORGE TOWN Cayman Islands (Reuters) - A group of Cuban migrants
anchored in an open wooden boat off the Cayman Islands for nearly two
weeks have been told by the government to leave or face detention and

The makeshift vessel carrying about 30 people arrived on June 14 off the
south coast of the island of Grand Cayman, and is drifting about a
quarter of a mile offshore near South Sound, a fashionable strip of
wealthy oceanfront homes.

The Cubans were given an ultimatum on Wednesday to depart or be taken
into custody, according to Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith.

Some local residents have assisted the Cubans with food and water while
they shelter from rough seas before likely heading west to the coast of

Officials in the Caymans say more Cuban boats are being spotted in their
territorial waters, usually headed for Honduras, from where migrants
make the long journey overland to reach the U.S. border with Mexico.

Under an existing agreement between Cuba and the Cayman Islands
government, migrants who come ashore are usually repatriated. Cayman and
Cuban officials are due to meet later this year to negotiate new
migration terms.

The current agreement, signed in 1999, states that Cuban migrant boats
are allowed to pass through Cayman waters as long as they do not seek
any assistance.

The Caymans is a British territory located less than 100 miles (160 km)
south of Cuba.

Cruise ships have also been involved in several recent rescues. In March
24 Cubans were rescued from a wooden boat by a passing cruise liner
which took them to the Cayman Islands.

(Editing by David Adams and Sandra Maler)

Source: Drifting Cuban migrants ordered to leave Cayman waters -

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