As more migrant boats keep arriving, Keys responders find themselves stretched thin

January 15, 2023

© MATIAS J. OCNER/Miami Herald/TNS A United States Coast Guard airplane flies over the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in the Middle Florida Keys city of Marathon on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. © Provided to the Miami Herald/Miami Herald/TNS A fleet of migrant boats line the beach of Garden Key, home to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park. “The migrant vessels have pollutants on board in the form of gasoline, diesel and oil in unapproved containers,” Burtner said. The county received 150 marine removal authorizations last year, and 49 of them were migrant boats, Burtner said. “In total, the county spent a little over $93,000 on vessel removals for both migrant and derelict vessels, and migrant vessels accounted for more than 67 percent of that total,” she said.