MIAMI — The Coast Guard, Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and Turks and Caicos Islands Police (TCIP) rescued 187 people approximately 17 miles southwest of Turks and Caicos Islands, Saturday.
The Coast Guard Cutter Seneca (WMEC-906) crew and a Her Majesty’s Bahamian Ship crew arrived on scene and embarked the 187 people between the two ships. The Seneca crew took 86 people and the Bahamian ship took 101 people. The Seneca crew transferred the survivors to the TCI Police Marine Unit with no reported injuries.
A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, forward deployed to the Great Inagua, Bahamas, spotted a 30-foot vessel carrying 187 people. Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders and the Coast Guard liaison officer for the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands coordinated a response with the RBDF, TCIP and the Seneca crew.
The Coast Guard Seneca crew destroyed the 30-foot vessel as it posed a hazard to navigation.
«Safety at sea is our number one priority and we are always grateful to work with our international partner agencies to save lives,» said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Matejka, Coast Guard liaison officer for the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. «This case involved 187 people on a 30-foot boat with no safety or communication equipment. That’s over a hundred lives traveling in an unpredictable, unforgiving environment with no safety net. Without our intervention many people could’ve been injured or worse.»