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US

Boat carrying scores of Haitians stopped near Miami

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January 1, 2000
Web posted at: 7:05 a.m. EST (1205 GMT)

MIAMI (CNN) -- A boat carrying 150 to 200 Haitian refugees was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard on Saturday about a mile off the Florida coast.

Petty Officer Robert Swanson said the boat was spotted during a routine patrol around 1 p.m. at Stiltsville, in Biscayne Bay, south of Miami.

The Coast Guard has not been able to contact anyone on the boat, he said, describing it as a 60-foot wooden motorboat.

About seven Coast Guard boats were on the scene, awaiting sunrise.

Swanson said it is the first boat carrying Haitian refugees that the Coast Guard has spotted off the U.S. coast in several months.

He described weather and sea conditions as calm. He estimated the trip from Haiti to Florida would take such a boat four to seven days. The Coast Guard policy is to return Haitians to their homeland.



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