NASSAU, BAHAMAS — One hundred and seventy-nine Haitian migrants were turned over to Bahamian authorities after the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted the large group on an “overloaded” sailboat in the waters off Andros on Sunday evening, according to the authorities.
A US Coast Guard aircraft crew spotted the sailing freighter about 30 miles off Andros around 11 p.m. and reported the matter to the command center.
His teams mobilized and intercepted the ship, taking the men and women into custody.
In surveillance footage from the plane, the crowded ship could be seen traversing the rough terrain at sea.
Every inch of the ship’s space seemed to be occupied by men and women, some of whom stood at the edge of the boat.
The U.S. Coast Guard said all of the migrants, once aboard its ship, received food, water and medical attention.
No injuries were reported.
The group was processed and handed over to the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) yesterday.
Coast Guard Seventh District Command Center Law Enforcement Duty Officer Lt. Vladimir Jimenez said, “The Coast Guard and partner agencies continue to patrol the air and water to deter these types of dangerous journeys.
“The likelihood of a successful migration journey is low and when such journeys are stopped, people should expect to be sent back to their country of origin.”
Over the past five months, the US Coast Guard has intercepted nearly 1,000 Haitian migrants.
In 2021, US authorities intercepted 1,527 Haitian migrants; and they intercepted 418 Haitian migrants the previous year.
According to statistics released by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) earlier this month, there were 18 illegal landings in 2021, up from 10 the previous year, an increase of 80%.