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Artie Ayala & Omar "El Bombero" Fernandez

April 12, 2013

A Boat Called "Chug"

Found this boat, called a "Chug" due to the noises made while underway, beached on an island west of the 7 mile bridge. A friend Yaly, told me the Cuban migrants ran aground just offshore and waded in Saturday and spent the night huddled onthe island. They were picked up by law enforcement in the morning for processing. Cuban migrants who reach dry land are usually not deported as they would be if intercepted at sea unless they can be proven to have certain criminal histories.

The craft is obviously homemade out a copper-like, very thin metal. They screwed the pieces together and used what appears to be fiberglass resin to make it watertight. I noticed the motor was some type of 4 cylinder on wooden mounts with brand new looking plug wires, probably sent from Florida by a relative. Around the exterior hull is a hollow metal piece they filled with expanding foam for added flotation.

The two oars were missing but there were a couple of containers filled with gasoline and some clothing still onboard.

Story and Photos by Omar "El Bombero" Fernandez

Rosa María Payá se reúne con congresistas cubanoamericanos