Six stowaways were turned over to authorities in the Dominican Republic after they were removed from a tug and barge arriving in San Juan from the Dominican Republic Sunday.
The stowaways were spotted by the crew of the tug Sea Islander using
a video surveillance system that monitors security on the barge. The master reported the stowaways to the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in San Juan.
Crews from Coast Guard Station San Juan escorted the tug and barge to the pier where a team of law Enforcement officers including Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the barge company's private security guards waiting on the pier.
While the barge was being moored to the pier, one stowaway exited the barge brandishing a machete and jumped into the water and swam under the pier.
The stowaway dropped the machete while in the water and swam to the pier where the barge security company
apprehended him. CBP assumed custody of the migrant and the team proceeded to board and search the vessel where they found six more men attempting to illegally enter the United States.
During the offload of cargo from the barge, five more stowaways were located and taken into CBP custody.
This case is almost an exact repeat from a month ago when three Cuban stowaways were located by a security camera and taken into custody by the Homeland Security Team, aboard this same tug and barge combination.
The Barge is unmanned while underway but is equipped with close circuit television cameras that are monitored by the crew aboard the tug.
The tug and barge were traveling from Rio Hina, Dominican Republic.
Seven of the twelve stowaways were and transferred from the barge to the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus and transported back to the Dominican Republic. The remaining five are in CBP custody and are expected to eventually be repatriated to the Dominican Republic.