||Last Updated: Jun 13, 2019 - 10:14:38 AM
Coral Harbour Base, (RBDF) - A joint combined operation between Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) HELO, a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter, a USCG aircraft, and two Royal Bahamas Defence Force patrol craft resulted in the arrest of of a motorized wooden vessel that was smuggling undocumented migrants in waters southwest of The Bahamas during the afternoon of Wednesday 12 June 2019.
Information about the suspicious vessel was initially received by the Defence Force Operations Command Center from the United States Coast Guard earlier during the day.
The motorized vessel was monitored by OPBAT helicopters as USCG Cutter VENTUROUS along with Defence patrol craft, HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES and P-128, proceeded to the area to intercept the vessel. The two RBDF patrol crafts were on patrol in the southern Bahamas at the time.
The Haitian vessel with 177 migrants on board was subsequently intercepted by USCG Cutter VENTUROUS, assisted by P-128 and HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES approximately 30 miles south of Inagua around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Due to the safety of life at sea concerns, the unsanitary and un-seaworthy status of the migrant vessel, all of the migrants were transferred to the United States Coast Guard Cutter, and the migrant vessel was destroyed. They will be repatriated to Haiti by the USCG Cutter.
HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Omarv Saunders and P-128 is coxswained by Petty Officer Ronnie Neymour.
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