Categorized | National News

RBDF Vessel Attacked

A Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) vessel was attacked yesterday by a fleeing Dominican vessel.

HMBS Madeira, under the command of Acting Senior Lieutenant William Sturrup was attacked in waters of the Great Bahama Bank.

Reports are that the HMBS Madeira was on routine patrol on Wednesday afternoon when officers attempted to apprehend two Dominican vessels illegally in Bahamian waters.

Both Dominican vessels attempted to flee the area but were unsuccessful in doing so.

Officials said one of the vessels, in its attempt to flee, rammed into the HMBS Madeira to prevent capture, however, this proved fruitless.

The HMBS Madeira had to deploy its sea boat and boarding team to apprehend the vessel in waters near the Old Bahama Channel.

Upon searching the two vessels, the Defence Force boarding team found 50 foreign poachers from the Dominican Republic and a large undetermined number of fisheries resources.

When contacted for comment concerning the threat of Bahamian fisheries, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, V. Alfred Gray noted that the Dominicans could be charged with various infractions from fisheries to immigration infractions.

He also noted that there has been talks with Dominican officials regarding Dominicans continuously disregarding the laws and policies of Bahamian waters.

“Two or three years ago, a delegation led by the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources [myself], visited the Dominican Republic and met with the president of the Dominican Republic their Defence Force and their Minister of Agriculture.

“We had several meetings and they had really promised to cooperate with The Bahamas government in stamping out this fishing evil, but they have not kept the promises they made,” Mr. Gray said.

He also commended the Defence Force team for having made the arrests and keeping the boarders secure.

Acting Commander of the Defence Force Captain Tellis Bethel noted that poachers are a vexing problem that has threatened the livelihood of many Bahamians. He also commended the Commanding Officer and the marines of the HMBS Madeira for their courageous efforts.

He also noted that the dedicated officers and marines throughout the Defence Force have committed themselves to the success of the organization and the security of the Bahamian borders.

“The Defence Forces has been successful to a large extent in rolling back this poaching problem, and local fishing communities are beginning to see the benefits of The Bahamas Government’s $232 million investment. We are making it clear that foreign poachers are not welcomed here,” Captain Bethel said.

The Dominican vessels will be escorted to the capital where they will be handed over to the relevant authorities for further processing.




Written by Jones Bahamas

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