vesselsThursday 3 Nov 2016 (Coral Harbour Base)–Her Majesty’s Bahamian Ship (HMBS) Madeira, under the command of Acting Senior Lieutenant William Sturrup, apprehended two Dominican fishing vessels while on routine patrol in the southern Bahamas yesterday afternoon.

Both vessels attempted to flee the area and warning shots had to be fired across the bow of the Dominican vessels by HMBS Madeira after all attempts were made to stop and board the vessels. One of the fleeing Dominican vessels rammed HMBS Madeira to prevent capture but was unsuccessful.

HMBS Madeira then quickly deployed its sea boat and boarding team to apprehend the second Dominican vessel in 12-foot seas near the Old Bahama Channel. The incident occurred approximately 27 miles east-south east of Cay Lobos–a small cay on the perimeter of the Great Bahama Bank.

Captain Tellis Bethel, the Commander Defence Force (Acting), commended the Commanding Officer and the brave men and women of HMBS Madeira for their courageous efforts in helping to tackle a vexing problem that has threatened the livelihood of many Bahamians.

Captain Bethel also extended his thanks to the dedicated Officers and Marines throughout the Defence Force, who have committed themselves to the success of the organization, and the security of our borders.

“The Defence Force has been successful to a large extent in rolling back this poaching problem, and local fishing communities are beginning to see the benefits of The Bahamas Government’s $232 million dollar investment under the Sandy Bottom project,” said Captain Bethel. “We’re making it clear that foreign poachers are not welcomed here.”

Upon searching the two steel-hulled vessels, the Defence Force boarding teams found a combined total of 50 foreign poachers from the Dominican Republic and a large undetermined quantity of fisheries resources.

The vessels will be escorted to the capital where they will be handed over to the relevant authorities for further processing.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force remains committed to Guarding Our Heritage and maintaining a continuous Defence Force presence throughout The Bahamas.