RBDF: Haitian sloop with 100 onboard runs aground in South Andros

Days after the US Coast Guard intercepted a Haitian sloop carrying nearly 400 people near Anguilla Cay, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) said another vessel, with at least 100 people on it, ran aground in South Andros on Tuesday night.

In a statement, the RBDF said 38 migrants had been captured so far.

“Law enforcement agencies are currently conducting a thorough search in the immediate area for additional migrants,” the RBDF said, noting that the vessel ran aground in Driggs Hill.

RBDF Commodore Dr. Raymond King said yesterday that the force was looking for that sloop over a three-day period. He said the RBDF was also tracking another sloop, which was eventually intercepted on Saturday by the US Coast Guard.

“The Cuban Border Patrol alerted us to the second vessel,” he told Eyewitness News.

“Me, along with the US Coast Guard, used our surface and air assets to try and locate that vessel and somehow it was able to evade all of us and ended up landing in South Andros.”

Mangrove Cay, Central and South Andros MP Leon Lundy said yesterday that residents mobilized quickly on Tuesday night to assist police in finding any migrants.

On Wednesday, officers from the RBDF and Department of Immigration arrived on the island and began canvassing every corner, he said.

“I think they (residents) have a sense of comfort now seeing the authorities on the ground and knowing that it was a community effort,” Lundy said.

“Everybody came together.”

He said a resident cooked for the migrants and that health workers screened them.

The Department of Immigration said once the search is over, the migrants will be transported to Inagua.

Thousands of Haitians have tried to flee the country in the wake of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 and the ensuing violence and economic challenges.

There was an increase in murders, kidnappings and sexual violence in Haiti last year, officials reported.

The RBDF said more than 500 Haitians have been captured trying to enter The Bahamas illegally so far this year.

While in Argentina on Tuesday, Prime Minister Philip Davis said the situation in Haiti poses a substantial threat to The Bahamas and other countries.

“The crisis in Haiti is getting worse,” said Davis.

“The tragic situation there continues to pose a substantial threat not only to Haitians, but also to The Bahamas and neighboring countries, all of whom are experiencing a significant increase in irregular and often dangerous migration.”

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the news editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to news editor in January 2023.

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