The rescue was part of ongoing multi-agency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).
On Monday morning, Coast Guard lookouts in San Juan were alerted by U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Ramey Sector, who reported a small campfire in the uninhabited Monito Island nature reserve.
The crew of the coast guard ship Joseph Tezanos investigated the events and confirmed that there was a group of unidentified people stranded on Monito Island. After the rescue, the survivors reported that they had been abandoned there for five days.
#CARIBBEAN: In recent weeks, hundreds of Haitian migrants have arrived by boat in the Florida Keys. Almost all of them tell U.S. officials they’re coming to escape the armed terror back in #Haiti driven by the violent gangs that now control much of Haiti and Port-au-Prince. pic.twitter.com/Tj2TDSqLAx
"I congratulate the crew for doing an extraordinary job by flawlessly, safely executing a high-risk evolution, which saved the lives of 12 people," said Lt. Henry Ward, the commanding officer of the Tezanos.
Once aboard the Tezanos, the Haitian migrants received food, water and basic medical care. Monito Island is located in the Mona Passage, which is a strait that separates the islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico and is a frequent migration route in the Caribbean Sea.
This year, the authorities have recorded two shipwrecks and 16 Haitian deaths in that area. On May 12, north of the Puerto Rican islet of Desecheo, a ship capsized, killing 11 Haitian women.