Migrants from four different countries made up the latest group apprehended and processed by officers in Grand Bahama.
The Freeport News was informed that on Saturday (December 1) at 6:30 p.m., United States Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Bernard C Webber, called into the Lucayan Harbour and handed over to Bahamian Immigration officials a total of 10 migrants of mixed nationalities. Napthali Cooper, Bahamas Immigration Officer provided the information.
The group comprised of four Haitians, three males and one female; four Ecuadorian males; one Dominican male; and one Cuban male.
All persons with the exception of the Cuban migrant, were located by USCG officials on Friday morning at sea approximately 3:30 a.m., some 23 nautical miles West of Freeport, Grand Bahama in a disabled vessel which was apparently taking on water.
According to Cooper, the vessel, a 30-foot Proline Cuddy Cabin style, white hull with blue stripe and a single outboard engine, was believed to have departed Freeport earlier on Thursday evening destined for the United States with nine persons on board, apparently attempting to be smuggled into the U.S.A. The vessel also carried a Grand Bahama registration number.
The nine persons from the disabled vessel were taken aboard the USCG cutter. The disabled vessel was lost at sea during the night and was not recoverable.
The lone Cuban migrant male was discovered at Cay Sal Bank.
After taking custody of the 10 persons, Immigration officials transported them to headquarters for further processing, and to be examined by staff from the Disease Surveillance Unit of the Public Hospital Authority.
Two of the Haitian men are known to the Immigration Department, with one of them being in possession of an Annual Resident Permit which expires later this month. The other’s work permit expired two months ago and has a renewal application which is pending.
The other Haitian male and female are both without legal status and claimed that they entered the Bahamas illegally by boat from Haiti earlier this year.
The Dominican national entered the country legally on a Short-Term Work Permit which has since expired. The four Ecuadorians entered The Bahamas earlier this year as visitors but have since allowed their status to expire, without seeking an extension.
Charges of Illegal Landing, Illegal Embarkation and Overstaying are pending against the nine, while the Cuban migrant is expected to be sent to the Detention Centre until being repatriated to Cuba.