MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Crews have removed a possible migrant vessel hours after it washed ashore on Miami Beach.
The makeshift vessel was found near 31st Street and Collins Avenue, Friday afternoon.
No one was on board when it was spotted.
Authorities confirmed the boat was from an old event.
“That vessel from today appears to be a vessel that was previously interdicted at sea, and it later washed up onto shore that was cleared by the U.S Coast Guard, our partner agency,” said Adam Hoffner with U.S. Border Patrol.
7Skyforce hovered above the vessel, which had the words “OK” spray painted on its side.
It is now considered marine debris.
“We do suspect, based on the type of vessel, that this is an event that originated in Cuba, involving Cuban migrants, and was interdicted by one of our partner agencies at sea,” said Hoffner.
The vessel sparked curiosity among beachgoers.
“I’m Cuban. I used to fish in Cuba, and in the morning, the sea is dangerous. Imagine 90 miles in this ship; it’s crazy,” said Ernesto Carulla as he pointed at the vessel behind him.
Over the past few months, officials with the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection have reported an uptick in migrant landings.
According to the Coast Guard, their crews interdicted 838 Cuban migrants in 2021. That number has jumped to more than 6,000 in 2022 to date.
Coast Guard officials said they haven’t seen those numbers since 2016.
“It’s sad that people have to leave their own country, because of the dictatorship in Cuba,” said Carulla. “People are risking their own lives trying to escape from the prison that Cuba is now.”
A crew with Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation has since removed the vessel from the beach. 7News has learned local authorities will get rid of it.
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