BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – JUST three after 15 Haitians had reportedly encountered problems at sea and are being investigated by two law enforcement agencies, 35 more individuals have suffered similar fate and are currently being interviewed by the Immigration Department.
According to a communiqué from the Immigration Department, while at sea yesterday (Oct. 23), the MV Ocean King had sent an emergency distress signal to which the Dutch Coast Guard responded.
This media house learned that the distressed vessel was some 30 miles off the shores of St. Kitts and was towed to a certain point by the Dutch and handed over to the St. Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard.
The communiqué stated that the vessel was handed over to the St. Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard because the Federation was the closest port.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard then escorted the vessel to the pier at the Coast Guard base in Basseterre at about 9:00 p.m.
On board the vessel were 35 persons, 34 of whom are believed to be nationals from Haiti and one believed to be from Dominica. Also among them is a juvenile.
SKNVibes learned that there are six females among the lot and four of them were taken to the JNF General Hospital for observation and observation.
The communiqué however indicated that two of them have since been discharged and joined the others who are currently in custody.
The Immigration Department is in the process of conducting interviews with the individuals to ascertain the details of their circumstances and to verify their port of embarkation, as well as the intended port of disembarkation.
SKNVibes understands some of them claimed that they were headed for St. Thomas.
Meanwhile, it is understood that efforts are being made to have the 13 males and two females, who have been in custody since Sunday (Oct. 20), return to their homeland.