Cubans rescued after running aground on Little Cayman reef

A group of 22 Cuban migrants is being transferred from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman.

A group of Cuban migrants ran aground on a reef off the eastern end of Little Cayman on Tuesday.

According to police in the Sister Islands, the group was able to get the attention of a resident near Point of Sand, and several people in the area took boats out to rescue the 22 migrants off the reef Tuesday evening.

The group had been working on repairs to their boat in the waters off Little Cayman Tuesday morning, according to a government press release, “but said at the time they were expecting to depart shortly.”

Inspector Wendy Parchment, police commander for the Sister Islands, said the group spent Tuesday night in the hurricane shelter on the island and “they were able to get a hot meal and a bath.”

Ms. Parchment said Reef Divers and the Department of Environment helped transfer the 22 to Cayman Brac Wednesday where they are staying in government housing until the Immigration Department can fly the group to Grand Cayman.

She said the transfer would have been very difficult without the help of the Reef Divers boat because of the limited resources law enforcement have on the Sister Islands.

Immigration officials said 11 of the migrants have landed in the Cayman Islands before. Cuban nationals who land in the Cayman Islands are sent back to Cuba through an agreement with that country.

Cubans who pass through Cayman’s waters are usually headed for Central America, where they can take the land route north to the United States.

There has been a spike in migration this year as relations between the United States and Cuba thaw, leading some people in Cuba to worry about the end of the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy that fast-tracks Cuban citizens for residency status if they make it to U.S. soil.

The Immigration Department expected to transfer the group to Grand Cayman on Thursday or Friday.

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