A group of Haitian migrants is on the way to the capital after they were apprehended in Bahamian waters on Monday evening by the Royal Bahamas Defence. While on routine patrol, the Defence Force’s aircraft P-68 piloted by Chief Petty Officer Gregory Storr spotted the sailing vessel early Sunday morning. Shortly after 5:00 p.m. Monday evening, a U.S Coast Guard helicopter from the Operation Bahamas, Turks, and Caicos (OPBAT) spotted the 40-ft Sailing vessel approximately 8 nautical miles east of Wemyss settlement in south Long Island and alerted Defence Force patrol craft, HMBS ROLLY GRAY, which was also searching for the vessel under the command of Lieutenant Commander Granville Adderley.
Further investigations resulted in the apprehension of 70 undocumented Haitian migrants aboard the sailing vessel, “ISLAND GIRL” The migrants were detained by HMBS Rolly Gray and will be taken to the capital. The Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel, commended the vigilant efforts of Defence Force, as well as US Coast Guard members, who had conducted an extensive joint operation to capture the vessel. This incident is the first migrant apprehension for the year. Last year, the Defence Force
apprehended or assisted in apprehending some 1,300 migrants including 14 foreign nationals from five countries aboard a motor yacht off Fort Montagu late last year. The vessel was believed to have been involved in a migrant smuggling operation. The case is ongoing before the court.
Last week, Defence Force divers assisted local authorities in North Andros with the search and recovery of victims of a plane crash in nearby waters. Also, the vigilant search for Mr. Samuel Moss Jr., who was reported missing since 15th January is also ongoing. Mr. Moss departed Bimini for New Providence in a white 21-foot single engine Angler small craft and has not been heard from since.