(Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, The Bahamas) Local authorities in Eleuthera report that around 3:20 pm on Tuesday afternoon, March 27, 2018, an anonymous man contacted the Governor’s Harbour Police Station by telephone. The man said that he was presently on a vessel off of the southern coast of Eleuthera, and that it was taking on water. He also told Police that the vessel had a number of Haitian immigrants on board.
As a result of the information, Chief Superintendent Stephen Adderley and a team of Police Officers, along with Chief Immigration Officer, Mrs. Shema Darling, traveled to South Eleuthera, where they conducted surveillance with negative results. Chief Superintendent Adderley contacted Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and requested their assistance in conducting aerial and sea searches.
Sometime after 9pm on Tuesday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard fixed wing spotter aircraft was able to locate the vessel. As a result the Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessel, HMBS Cascarilla under the command of Lieutenant Commander Clinton Johnson proceeded to the area.
The HMBS Cascarilla intercepted the craft, which was an American sailing vessel during the early morning hours on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018, approximately 16 nautical miles southwest of Governor’s Harbour. Eighty nine (89) undocumented Haitian immigrants were reported to have been on board the vessel.
Chief Superintendent Adderley, shortly after 9am on Wednesday morning, confirmed that the immigrants taken into custody were being transferred to Rock Sound, South Eleuthera, where they would be processed by Immigration authorities.
It is intended that they will appear before the magistrate in Eleuthera before their repatriation to Haiti.
The Defence Force said that they have increased their monitoring and patrolling efforts in the Southern Bahamas, which is considered a gateway for much of the illegal activity that takes place within the Bahamas’ borders. Migrants, they said, are using a variety of means to transit Bahamian waters, including traditional sailing sloops, smaller conventional sailing yachts, and motorized go fasts with collapsible sails.
For the year to date, 281 migrants have been apprehended, with two arrests made consecutively near Inagua on March 11th, another 69 apprehended off Long Island in January and the over 20 that were arrested after they came ashore in Marshall Road.
Immigration authorities in Eleuthera further reported on Wednesday morning that another smaller vessel in distress near Half Moon Cay with two people of Haitian nationality on board had been taken into custody. Also, during patrols in South Eleuthera on Tuesday evening, one additional undocumented Haitian immigrant had been arrested. Immigration authorities reported a total of 92 people in custody on Wednesday morning.