Coral Harbour Base, 15 JUL. ‘18 (RBDF): A joint maritime operation between the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos Islands (OPBAT), and the United States Coast Guard early this morning resulted in the apprehension of two Haitian Sloops in the southern Bahamas with a combined total of 162 Haitian nationals on board.
The sloops were initially reported by the Defence Force Intelligence Section, in collaboration with The Bahamas Immigration Department, to OPBAT, which deployed a helicopter to search for them.
Confirmation of sightings were made by OPBAT, which, in turn, provided the Defence Force and the US Coast Guard with geographical locations of the sloops; the first being approximately 67 nautical miles west of Inagua and the second, 20 miles south of Inagua.
The first sloop was subsequently intercepted by the Defence Force patrol craft, HMBS Durward Knowles, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Omarv Saunders, approximately 40 miles east of Ragged Island with 42 migrants on board.
The second sloop was intercepted by the US Coast Guard Cutter Northland, approximately 16 nautical miles south of Acklins Island with 120 migrants on board.
Both sloops were approximately 40 feet in length. The migrants will be transported to Inagua where they will be handed over to Immigration officials for further processing.