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Viewing cable 06SANJOSE2316, 128 CHINESE AND PERUVIAN MIGRANTS INTERCEPTED BY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06SANJOSE2316 2006-10-23 14:02 2011-03-08 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2702320.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2702324.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702325.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702326.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-06/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2702327.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #2316/01 2961410
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231410Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6379
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0120
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 0943
RUWDQAA/CCGDELEVEN ALAMEDA CA
RUWDQAC/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DIRJIATF SOUTH
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHQCCTB/USCGC BOUTWELL
RUEHPE/USDAO LIMA PE
RUEHSJ/USMILGP SAN JOSE CS
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 002316 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/PPC, AND INL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KCRM CS PE
SUBJECT: 128 CHINESE AND PERUVIAN MIGRANTS INTERCEPTED BY 
COSTA RICAN COAST GUARD 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: October 11-18, in an international, 
inter-agency operation involving the Costa Rican Coast 
Guard (SNGC), the US Coast Guard, the Peruvian Air Force, 
the GOCR's Directorate of Immigration (and MOTR Plan 
participants in Washington), 128 Chinese and Peruvian 
intending immigrants were rescued from their disabled 
vessel near Isla del Coco and returned to Peru (their 
departure point).  The successful effort (over a Costa 
Rican holiday weekend) required persistent 
behind-the-scenes diplomacy and would have been impossible 
without the assistance of the USCG Boutwell, but 
underscored the utility of the U.S./Costa Rica Bilateral 
Maritime 
Agreement.  More importantly, this good news story 
highlighted what the GOCR is capable of, when its 
limited resources are marshaled effectively.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (SBU) Post received indications on October 11 that 
approximately 140 (later confirmed as 128) intending 
immigrants were stranded on a disabled 70-ft. fishing 
vessel, possibly of Peruvian registry (also confirmed 
later), and were adrift in Costa Rican territorial seas 
near the Isla del Coco.  This information was relayed to 
the SNGC which immediately dispatched one of its three 
82-ft. patrol vessels.  The SNGC vessel made contact on 
October 12 and verified that the passengers aboard the 
vessel were intending to immigrate illegally to the U.S. 
The migrants apparently had recently been abandoned by 
their traffickers but had been adrift with little food or 
water for many days.  Since the SNGC vessel's 10-person 
crew could not safely board the overcrowded fishing vessel, 
SNGC Director Alvarado requested Embassy assistance and 
dispatched a second 82-ft patrol boat. 
 
3. (SBU) Post's Office of the Defense Representative (ODR) 
worked closely with the SNGC and the Ministry of Public 
Security to draft a request for assistance and to 
coordinate the recovery operation.  Once approved (by the 
highest levels of the GOCR), the request was submitted on 
late October 12, enabling the high-endurance cutter 
Boutwell to be diverted from its routine counternarcotics 
patrol to help.  The Boutwell made contact with the SNGC 
patrol boats, by then towing the disabled migrant vessel, 
(the Peruvian fishing vessel NALU) in the early hours of 
October 14.  The crew of the Boutwell boarded the NALU and 
transferred all 128 migrants (final count 71 Chinese, 57 
Peruvians) to the custody of Costa Rican shipriders in 
accordance with the terms of the U.S./Costa Rica Bilateral 
Maritime 
Agreement.  The Boutwell provided fuel to the Costa Rican 
patrol boats and a hot meal to the migrants, then departed 
for the Costa Rican port of Caldera. 
 
4. (SBU) Costa Rican Immigration and Red Cross officials 
processed the migrants in Caldera later on October 14. 
Offloading the migrants from the Boutwell took 
approximately four hours and was accelerated by the 
cutter's willingness to shuttle the migrants to the pier 
using its own resources.  The migrants were bussed to a 
shelter in San Jose where they received fresh clothing and 
minor medical attention as required.  In an arrangement 
worked out between the two governments, the Peruvian Air 
Force sent two planes to San Jose to return the migrants to 
Lima on October 17 and 18. 
 
5. (SBU) Costa Rican Immigration Director Mario Zamora told 
media on October 18 that the entire operation had cost the 
GOCR approximately 523 million Colones (just over one million 
USD).  Other media reports mentioned the USCG's assistance, 
but focused more on the SNGC's all hands effort, the dire 
conditions about the NALU before the migrants were rescued 
and the draconian terms of their transportation "contracts" 
which would have made them virtual slaves to their 
traffickers (Chinese Mafia) for years to come. 
 
6. (SBU) COMMENT:  Although this operation put a great 
strain on the GOCR's resources, we are largely pleased with 
the way the Government met its international obligations. 
Likewise, the SNGC pleasantly surprised us with its ability 
 
to get two of three operational large patrol boats on the 
scene within a reasonable amount of time (although they 
still needed fuel from the Boutwell in order to return to 
port).  This event provided an excellent opportunity to 
engage senior Arias Administration decision makers in 
accordance with the terms of the Bilateral Maritime 
Agreement and to identify and correct some communication 
problems among those decision makers as they addressed an 
urgent, real-world problem. 
FRISBIE