ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands – Marine Interdiction Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO), rescued 11 divers from a sunken vessel off the coast of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
“Our agents remain vigilant in detecting smuggling threats to the homeland, but when we encounter individuals in distress, that becomes our first priority,” said Edgar Santiago, Deputy Director, Air Operations, at the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.
On the morning of July 3, an AMO Midnight Express Interceptor Vessel crew assigned to the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch, St. Thomas Marine Unit, received a distress call from U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector San Juan communicating that a dive vessel was sinking 1 nautical mile from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
The AMO crew immediately responded to the area and observed several people in the water near the mostly submerged hull of their vessel. The sunken vessel’s dive master informed the AMO crew that all 11 passengers onboard were accounted for.
AMO rescued all the divers from the water and transported them to USCG Station St. Thomas where they were turned over to USCG care.
AMO interdicts unlawful people and cargo approaching U.S. borders, investigates criminal networks, provides domain awareness in the air and maritime environments, and responds to contingencies and national taskings.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.