Earlier today, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force was successful in apprehending a Haitian sailing sloop attempting to gain entrance into the southern Bahamas earlier today. HMBS Leon SMITH, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Stephen Rolle, was on patrol in the southern Bahamas when it intercepted, boarded and subsequently detained the vessel some 30 miles southwest of Great Inagua. The number of migrants on board are undetermined at this time. The vessel was sighted and reported to the Defence Force’s Operations Command Center by a USCG fixed-wing asset which was also operating in the area resulting in its apprehension by HMBS LEON SMITH.
The Defence Force has been involved in the apprehension of 1,200 migrants, mostly Haitian nationals for the year. This latest apprehension is in keeping with the Commander Defence Forces continued the commitment to maximizing use of resources to monitor our marine and coastal territory to prevent poachers, trafficking, and smuggling of people, wildlife, and illicit goods through our borders. Updates will follow as information becomes available.