Coast Guard, partner agency intercept 88 Haitians near Bahamas

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater aircrew and a Royal Bahamas Defence Force boat crews intercepted 88 people aboard a Haitian sail freighter near Great Inagua, Bahamas Jan. 23, 2022. The people were intercepted during a suspected migrant venture approximately 23 miles west of Great Inagua, Bahamas. (Royal Bahamas Defence Force photo)

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater aircrew and Royal Bahamas Defence Force boat crews intercepted 88 people aboard a Haitian sail freighter near Great Inagua, Bahamas Jan. 23, 2022. (Royal Bahamas Defence Force photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard and Royal Bahamas Defence Force intercepted 88 Haitians aboard an overloaded sail freighter Friday, near Great Inagua, Bahamas.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater forward-deployed Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew located a blue and red sail freighter with 88 people aboard, approximately 23 miles west of Great Inagua, Bahamas. While on scene, the Jayhawk aircrew vectored two RBDF ships to the overloaded sail freighter where the 88 migrants were taken aboard the RBDF HMBS Leon Livingston Smith and RBDF HMBS Nassau.

A second forward-deployed Jayhawk aircrew was launched to the location of the sail freighter to assist.

“Coast Guard crews continue to have a presence patrolling the waters around Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Bahamas, to ensure safety of life at sea. ” said Capt. Benjamin Golightly, Coast Guard Seventh District chief of response. “Navigating the Florida straits, Windward and Mona Passages in overloaded and less than seaworthy passages is extremely dangerous and can result in loss of life. The Coast Guard and our partner agencies will continue to stop these voyages. You will be interdicted and should expect to be returned and repatriated to your country of origin.”

Since Oct. 1, 2021, Coast Guard crews have rescued 559 Haitians compared to:

  • 1,527 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2021
  • 418 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2020
  • 932 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 609 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 419 Haitian Migrants in Fiscal Year 2017

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