Photos: Container Ship Rescues 19 People South of Florida Keys

Image courtesy USCG

Published Jan 2, 2022 4:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, the boxship Methoni rescued 19 Cuban migrants at a position about 30 nm to the southeast of Alligator Reef Lighthouse, near Islamorada, Florida. 

At about 1340 hours on Friday, the crew of the Methoni contacted Coast Guard Sector Key West to report that they had launched their lifeboat to rescue a group of people in distress. The crew took 19 survivors safely on board. One of the rescuees told the crew that their raft had flipped over, dumping all occupants into the water, and that 19 people had been aboard. 

One person required medical treatment, and Sector Key West called for an Air Station Miami helicopter crew to hoist and transfer the patient for emergency medical assistance. The survivor was medevaced to Fisherman’s Hospital in Marathon, Florida. 

“We are extremely thankful for the Methoni crew for rescuing everyone from the water and notifying us quickly,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Altieri, a duty watchstander at Sector Key West Command Center. "It’s good to know these 19 people will get back safely to their families."

Boat crew from Station Islamorada helps the crew of the Methoni prepare a survivor for medevac (USCG)

Boat crew from Station Islamorada helps the crew of the Methoni prepare a survivor for medevac (USCG)


The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Charles Sexton took aboard the remaining 18 survivors from the Methoni for processing and repatriation.

Migrant rescue and repatriation are a common part of the mission set in the Florida Strait, which has long been a highway for Cuban nationals seeking opportunity and freedom in the United States. On Thursday, the cutter Raymond Evans repatriated another 33 survivors from four separate interdiction and rescue operations conducted over the span of a single week, including another raft capsizing south of Marathon. 

The Methoni is a 2003-built boxship with a capacity of 6,400 TEU. As of Saturday, she was under way once more in the Gulf of Mexico, bound from Miami to Veracruz.