A nocturnal September Morning operation by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Marine Branch resulted in the apprehension of 158 Haitian migrants trying to illegally make their entry along these shores in a rickety sloop.
The capture took place at about 2:30a.m. according to a news release from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
“The One hundred and fifty-eight Haitian nationals have been detained following a joint exercise between the Marine Branch of the RTCIPF and the Royal Turks and Caicos Regiment,” the news release said.
The detainees, according to the RTCIPF, comprise 134 adult males, 22 adult females and two children, whose sexes have not been released.
At news time the undocumented migrants were being processed at the Immigration Department.
“Based on preliminary reports, the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre identified a target of interest and immediately started tracking the vessel around 10 miles west of Providenciales.
“The Operations Centre updated colleagues within the Marine Branch, who together with support from the Regiment intercepted the vessel, which had irregular migrants,” the release further stated.
The news release added: “Following a delicate operation to stabilize the vessel, which at the time was unsafe and severely overcrowded, the vessel was towed to South Dock where the irregular migrants were safely offloaded.”
Head of Special Operations, Superintendent Martyn Ball said extra special care was taken to safely towed the vessel in which the migrants were travelling, ashore, as it was woefully unsafe.
“Working with our partners we have safely intercepted another vessel which was overcrowded, unsafe and risked the lives of all those on board,” he said, asserting that his men exercised total professionalism and dedication to ensure that no lives were put in jeopardy.
“This interception again demonstrates the determination, professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and Health services to save lives and keep our borders secure.
“Additionally, I am appealing to anyone if you have information relating to such activity that you call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 and give the information anonymously, not only will you be saving lives, but also supporting our National Security in the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Ball was quoted as saying.