Haitian migrants captured, second sloop apprehended within 24 hours

An undetermined number of migrants aboard two Haitian sloops were intercepted in Bahamian waters early Sunday morning in a joint agency operation, authorities confirmed.

According to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), the capture was made in partnership with the United States’ (US) Operations Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

The first sloop the RBDF said, was spotted in the southern Bahamas sometime yesterday by an OPBAT helicopter, some 67 miles west of Inagua.

A defence force patrol craft and an OPBAT helicopter were said to be on the lookout for the Haitian sloop since Friday.

The wooden vessel, the RBDF said, was eventually intercepted around 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning, approximately 40 miles east of Ragged Island by HMBS Durward Knowles.

It has not yet been determined how many migrants were onboard that vessel, however, the group has been turned over to Immigration officials for further processing.

Meantime, shortly after that vessel was apprehended Sunday, USCG Cutter Northland said it had apprehended another sloop, south of Acklins Island, after the sloop was spotted by an OPBAT helicopter a day before.

The sloop, the RBDF said, was subsequently intercepted around 6:30 Sunday morning, approximately 16 nautical miles south of Acklins.

The number of persons on board that sloop has also not yet been determined.