Coast Guard, Royal Bahamas Defense Force Rescue 88 Haitian Migrants
MIAMI — The Coast Guard and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) rescued 88 Haitian migrants July 21 off Little Inagua, Bahamas, the Coast Guard said in a July 24 release.
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, deployed to Great Inagua, located the Haitian migrants on the island and received a request to assist by the Bahamian government.
The helicopter crew embarked 15 migrants for medical concerns and transported them to Matthew Town for further medical care.
“I am grateful for the continued support of the U.S. Coast Guard and Operations Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) in preventing loss of life at sea and in the continues fight against illicit trafficking in our waters,” said Cmdr. Clarence Dean, commander of operations, RBDF. “I anticipate our symbiotic relationship and positive rapport will shine through in future endeavors.”
The RBDF deployed a marine-asset crew to embark the remaining individuals off Little Inagua for transport to Great Inagua.
“This case highlights the value and professionalism of many crews coming together in support of a multination joint rescue operation,” said Capt. Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response with the Coast Guard’s Seventh District. “Illegal migration ventures, such as these, all too often end tragically. Thankfully, our Coast Guard and RBDF crews were able to locate and perform this rescue seamlessly.”
The Coast Guard, Drug Enforcement Agency and RBDF maintain a 24/7 presence on the island in support of OPBAT – a tri-country agreement between the U.S., Turks and Caicos and U.K. governments to combat drug smuggling to and from the U.S., Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.
Coast Guard members assigned to Air Station Clearwater routinely rotate deployments to Andros Island and Great Inagua. Members include maintenance personnel, ground crews, helicopter flight crews and site supervisors.