By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
A SEARCH and rescue mission is underway for a group of Jamaican and Haitian migrants reported missing at sea.
This comes after the Royal Bahamas Defence Force rescued 12 migrants who were stranded at sea on Saturday from a capsized vessel off Chub Cay in the Berry Islands.
RBDF search and rescue coordinator, Commander William Sturrup said five people were reported missing from the vessel.
“After receiving reports from Nicholls Town Police Station that a 27ft vessel was taking on water nine miles south of Chub Cay in the Berry Islands, RBDF Patrol Craft P-127, (headed) by Chief Petty Officer Onassis Ferguson, was dispatched to the area to investigate,” the RBDF noted in a statement.
“The search and rescue unit arrived on scene at 5.20 am to find the vessel partially submerged with several individuals in the water clinging to the vessel. Twelve persons were subsequently rescued with ongoing search efforts to find the remaining persons.
“The rescued migrants were transported to HMBS Coral Harbour to be processed and checked by medical personnel in advance of subsequent handover to police and immigration officials for further processing and investigation.”
Police press liaison officer ASP Audley Peters revealed the migrants are being held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.
In the statement, the RBDF and Commander Sturrup advised “boaters of their responsibility to observe boating safety requirements related to the possession of adequate safety, survival and communications equipment as per the Port Department regulations. Individuals are advised to adhere to the Emergency Orders as it pertains to maritime traffic and the movement of passengers.”
The RBDF also urged boaters to pay attention to local weather warnings and to report instances of suspected human smuggling or trafficking to its Operations Department at 826-3117 “to effectively counter such transnational maritime threat”.