At Least 17 Migrants Die After Boat Capsizes Off Bahamas

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NASSAU, the Bahamas — At the very least 17 Haitians, together with a baby, died Sunday after their boat capsized off the Bahamas on its option to Florida, the most recent tragedy amid a spike within the variety of migrants making an attempt to succeed in the US by sea.

The native authorities stated that they had rescued 25 passengers from the 30-foot speedboat, which overturned in tough seas about seven miles from the Bahamas’ most populated island, New Windfall, shortly after midnight on Sunday. They stated that as much as 60 folks had been within the boat and that the Bahamian and American coast guards had been looking for these lacking.

It was the worst lack of life in Bahamian waters since a minimum of 2019, when 27 Haitian migrants died when their boat capsized en path to the US.

“We mourn lives misplaced of these looking for a greater lifestyle,” Keith Richard Bell, the Bahamas’ immigration minister, stated on Sunday.

Two of these rescued are Bahamian residents and will probably be questioned as a part of an investigation into the potential involvement of native smugglers, the police stated. The passengers paid $3,000 to $8,000 to journey on the boat, in keeping with Bahamian officers.

The accident underlines the problem the Caribbean island nation faces from a swell within the variety of migrants, primarily from Haiti and Cuba, getting into its territory to flee financial turmoil and political persecution at residence. Most are hoping to finally attain Florida.

With a overwhelming majority of unlawful migration into the US coming over the Mexican border, the rising use of the extra harmful sea routes has failed to attract an excessive amount of consideration in Washington.

Simply on Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a boat carrying about 200 migrants off the Florida Keys.

The variety of Haitian migrants repatriated by immigration authorities within the Bahamas almost tripled final 12 months from a 12 months earlier, to greater than 2,200, in keeping with official statistics, as Haiti sank into chaos following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. In current months, Haiti has been rocked by worsening gang violence, which has claimed tons of of lives and turned components of the capital, Port-au-Prince, into warfare zones.

“It’s a failed state as we converse,” Prime Minister Philip Davis of the Bahamas stated Sunday in a information convention, discussing the rising numbers of Haitian migrants.

The variety of Cubans repatriated from the Bahamas elevated fivefold final 12 months, to 226, coinciding with the most important crackdown on dissent in many years on the Communist-led island. The official repatriation numbers masks the a lot bigger variety of migrants who go undetected by means of the Bahamas’ territory.

The spike in migration has stretched the sources of the Bahamas, a tourism-dependent nation whose economic system remains to be recovering from the pandemic.

The variety of “unlawful migrants and seizures and repatriations is thru the roof, frankly,” the nation’s lawyer basic, Ryan Pinder, stated final month. It’s “a lot greater than we’ve ever seen earlier than.”

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