Colombia’s Navy said Monday it had rescued 20 Cuban migrants from a ship that had gone adrift just off the country’s Caribbean coast near Panama.
In a press release, the Navy said the migrants’ boat got in trouble some four nautical miles from the Gulf of Uraba, an important hub for both drug and human trafficking from Colombia.
According to the migrants’ version of events, they were accompanied by two Colombian human traffickers who abandoned the ship and swam ashore after the engine began presenting problems.
The 15 men and five women then drifted further and further away from the coast until they were picked up by Navy personnel.
According to the Cubans, they had fled their home country and had traveled to Colombia illegally through Venezuela. From Uraba, they planned to travel to Panama, possibly with the United States as their final destination.
The Cubans were detained and taken to the Migration office in Turbo.
So far this year, Colombian coastal authorities like the Navy and the Coast Guard have intercepted more than 500 illegal immigrants in the Caribbean. Hundreds of others have been detained in the country’s Pacific waters.