NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Police and immigration officials are searching for migrants believed to have landed on a Haitian sloop that ran aground in the area of The Bluff, South Andros on Tuesday.
In a statement, Chief Superintendent Chryslyn Skippings said 19 migrants were apprehended in a collaborative effort between members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Department of Immigration and residents of Andros sometime around 8.46pm.
“Preliminary reports indicated that sometime around 8:46 p.m. officers attached to the Kemp’s Bay Police Station received information that a 30-40ft Haitian sloop was spotted running aground in the area of The Bluff, South Andros,” the statement read.
“Upon checking the area officials and residents discovered sixteen (16) males and three (3) females, all of whom were undocumented; subsequently, they were taken into custody for immigration purposes.”
Skippings added: “An aggressive search is being conducted by the Department of Immigration for additional migrants.”
In an earlier statement, the Ministry of Immigration said police officers stationed in South Andros apprehended 26 people, and furthered that based on information approximately 50 people were onboard the vessel.
“The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is presently conducting aerial surveillance. Teams from all law enforcement agencies are assisting the Department of Immigration in carrying out a full search of the area to apprehend all undocumented persons,” the ministry statement read.
“The public is reminded that harbouring illegal entrants is a criminal offence and we ask that anyone with information that may assist the Department in the investigation of this matter to please contact local law enforcement or the Department of Immigration at (242) 604-0172 or (242) 604-0196. Information can also be forwarded via the Department’s website.”
The statement added: “Upon the completion of the search, the unlawful entrants will be sent to the Inagua facility for processing. The Department of Immigration is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that the unlawful entrants are repatriated as quickly as possible. Further updates will be provided.”