Categorized | National News

Smuggling Attempt Gone Wrong

Passengers aboard an ill fated vessel reportedly paid as much as $5,000 each to leave Abaco for Florida, National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage revealed as much Tuesday while updating the public on the latest information regarding the tragedy at sea.

During House of Assembly proceedings Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Nottage revealed that an informant who is currently assisting police with their investigations has revealed that the persons aboard the vessel which sank Sunday were a part of a human smuggling attempt.

“A man who is reported to be a Bahamian national of Haitian origin reported to police that he was on board the vessel for the entire ordeal. He told police that his mother insisted that he go to the United States on the 25-foot vessel. The man said persons who were on board the vessel paid as much as $5,000 with hopes of making their way to Florida,” he said.

All hope has pretty much been lost in the search for any survivors of Sunday’s tragic incident off the coast of Abaco.

Police reports indicate that on June 10, a vessel “Glory Time,” left Abaco around 5:00 p.m. en route to Florida.

Three hours into the voyage the vessel began to take on water and sank near Crown Haven, Abaco around 8:00 p.m.

But it was not until the afternoon hours on Monday that police were made aware of the incident.

Dr. Nottage said it was sometime around 1:00 p.m. Monday that police were alerted about the incident and responded.

“A team of police officers and defense force officers responded and provided assistance. A resident of Crown Haven, Abaco also went to the area on another vessel and was able to dive up from the sunken vessel 11 bodies which all appeared to be lifeless,” he said.

“The recovered bodies have been transferred to the morgue in New Providence. The last report is that 10 persons were missing and feared to be dead.”

According to the male informant who survived the incident, there were nine children on board the vessel.

He said there were five young females, all between the ages 18 and 30, and 14 males.

The man said six people survived but disappeared one on land.

Dr. Nottage confirmed that police have a group of persons in custody.

“Eight persons have been taken into custody that have been seen in the area of Cooper’s Town and believed to be associated with the sunken vessel.”

Superintendant of Police in Abaco Noel Curry confirmed Tuesday that the captain of the vessel has not yet been found and officers are not sure if he is deceased or missing.

He confirmed that if the captain is found to be alive, he could face serious human smuggling charges.

Dr. Nottage expressed thanks to the United States government for its assistance in the search, rescue and recovery efforts in the wake of the accident.

He also extended condolences to the families of the deceased.

“I extend my sincere condolences on behalf of the government and the people of The Bahamas, to the families of the victims. I trust that this unfortunate incident will further buttress the resolve of all right thinking individuals to do all that is possible to bring to the end the smuggling of persons to and through our waters,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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