Dominican Fishing Vessel is sunk in waters west of Coral Harbour on Thursday June 11, 2020. (RBDF Photo by Marine Seaman Wellington Ramsey)

The Dominican fishing vessel “DIGNA ROSA 1” was sunk by members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force west of Coral Harbour on Thursday June 11, 2020.

The vessel was escorted to its watery grave by HMBS Lignum Vitae, under the command of Lieutenant Owen Sands. A team of engineers from the RBDF Engineering Department led the way in the sinking of the vessel.

This vessel was the last of 3 Dominican fishing vessels (DFV) to be apprehended by the RBDF in 2018 for poaching in Bahamian waters. Another 2 Dominican vessels were sunk earlier this year by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. On May 4, DFV “PAUL” was sunk, and on May 12, “CHICKY” was also escorted to be sunk in waters off Coral Harbour.

These 3 vessels were sighted for poaching in Bahamian waters on October 13, 2018 by RBDF patrol craft HMBS MADEIRA. After fleeing into Cuban territorial waters, the Cuban Border Patrol intercepted these vessels, and on October 14 with coordination from the RBDF, the Cuban government agreed to transfer the 3 Dominican vessels along with all 123 Dominican poachers and fishery contents.

The crews of the vessels were arraigned, convicted and sentenced in the Magistrate’s Court following the arrest.

The disposal of these vessels is part of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s hurricane preparation contingency plan. Authorization for the disposal of these vessels were obtained from the Office of the Attorney General.

All due diligence was taken to ensure that the sunken vessels are not a threat to the environment, and would evolve to become artificial reefs for divers.

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