(RBDF photo of abandoned Haitian sloop discovered on Saturday August 7, 2021)

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is actively searching for possible migrants after a sloop they were in, was found drifting in waters with no occupants onboard approximately eight (8) nautical miles of Goulding Cay on Saturday August 7, 2021. 

After receiving initial reports from the US Coast Guard Liaison officer that two Haitian sloops left Haiti, air and sea assets from the Royal Bahamas were immediately deployed to conduct search operation in the areas of the possible routes taken by the sloops. Additional assistance in the search also included aerial reconnaissance by a US Coast Guard fixed wing aircraft and also by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drone) and members of the RBDF Commando Squadron Unit, which conducted search on several cays in the Exuma chain. 

In addition to the extensive search operations, the Immigration Department also assisted with foot patrols along the southern shores of the capital, and the Royal Bahamas Police Force conducted shore and mobile patrols. Areas of interest included the northern and central islands of The Bahamas and surrounding cays, and inlets and shorelines of the capital. Currently, no evidence of an actual migrant landing has been detected along the southern coast of New Providence by Immigration, Police and Defence Force Officers. 

As a result of the discovery of the abandoned Haitian sloop, a thorough search has been launched by the relevant authorities to investigate the location of the possible migrants who may have been onboard. Additionally, an active investigation is underway to determine if the migrants may have been assisted at sea and transported to the Capital, or if they are abandoned along the Cays in the Exumas.  

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