HAITIAN MIGRANT TRAGEDY

Bahamians call for talks with Haiti over migrant smuggling

 

Previous migrant deaths

2007

One Haitian migrant died and 101 made it to shore in Hallandale Beach after a 22-day journey.

2008

Five migrants from Brazil and the Dominican Republic died and 26 were rescued after their boat ran aground near a small island east of downtown Miami.

2009

Ten Haitian migrants died and 15 Haitians and one Jamaican were rescued after their boat, coming from the Bahamas, capsized off Boynton Beach.

2011

38 Haitian migrants died and 87 were rescued after their boat sank off the eastern coast of Cuba.

2012

• At least 21 Dominican migrants died when their boat carrying 70 people sank en route to Puerto Rico.

• At least 11 Haitian migrants died when a boat carrying 28 people from the Bahamas to Florida sank.

2013

• A 14-year-old Haitian girl died and nine other Haitian migrants were taken into custody after a boat smuggling them came ashore in Palm Beach County on Aug. 28.

•  Four female Haitian migrants died when the 25-foot fishing boat they were being smuggled on capsized seven miles off Miami Beach on Oct. 16.


Migrants in the Bahamas

2011: 20 recorded boat landings and 1,918 undocumented Haitian migrants apprehended.

2012: 26 recorded boat landings and 1,477 undocumented Haitian migrants apprehended.

2013: As of Nov. 5, 26 recorded boat landings and 1,550 undocumented Haitian migrants apprehended.


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Haitian Migrants

Coast Guard to continue searching

Migrants

Migrants

Migrants in the Bahamas

2011: 20 recorded boat landings and 1,918 undocumented Haitian migrants apprehended.

2012: 26 recorded boat landings and 1,477 undocumented Haitian migrants were apprehended.

2013: As of Nov. 5, 26 recorded boat landings and 1,550 undocumented Haitian migrants apprehended.

Previous migrant deaths

2007

One Haitian migrant died and 101 made it to shore in Hallandale Beach after a 22-day journey.

2008

Five migrants from Brazil and the Dominican Republic died and 26 were rescued after their boat ran aground near a small island east of downtown Miami.

2009

Ten Haitian migrants died and 15 Haitians and one Jamaican were rescued after their boat, coming from the Bahamas, capsized off Boynton Beach.

2011

38 Haitian migrants died and 87 were rescued after their boat sank off the eastern coast of Cuba.

2012

At least 21 Dominican migrants died when their boat carrying 70 people sank en route to Puerto Rico.

At least 11 Haitian migrants died when a boat carrying 28 people from the Bahamas to Florida sank.

2013

A 14-year-old Haitian girl died and nine other Haitian migrants were taken into custody after a boat smuggling them came ashore in Palm Beach County on Aug. 28.

Four female Haitian migrants died when the 25-foot fishing boat they were being smuggled on capsized seven miles off Miami Beach on Oct. 16.


jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

The Bahamas’ foreign minister said Wednesday his nation will seek to hold talks with Haiti and others in the coming days over ways to discourage migrant smuggling.

“This tragic story continues with too much regularity despite strenuous efforts to stop and discourage it,” Foreign and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said. “This is a human tragedy.”

Mitchell’s announcement came as the U.S. Coast Guard ended its assistance in a harrowing search and recovery for missing Haitian migrants who were aboard a 40-foot wooden sailboat that capsized off the Bahamas Coast in the Exuma chain of islands.

At least 30 migrants were confirmed dead. But on Wednesday, Bahamian authorities were still struggling to retrieve all the bodies, a spokesman for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force said.

“We’ve been having difficulty getting to them, ” said Defence Force spokesman Lt. Origin Deleveux, adding that they had enlisted the help of local fishermen. “The water around there is extremely, extremely shallow.”

U.S. Coast Guard and the Bahamas military had resumed their search at daybreak after rescuing 110 Haitian migrants. . An additional survivor was rescued Wednesday morning 13 miles northeast of the capsized boat.

“He was dehydrated, but considering the circumstances, he was pretty lucky,” U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Mark Barney said.

By late afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard had been informed their assistance was no longer needed.

Meanwhile, a Bahamian military vessel was en route to Ragged Island where a second group of Haitians – as many as 60 – were stranded.

The simultaneous Haitian migrant smuggling operations have become common lately as Bahamian and U.S. officials report an increase of undocumented Haitians trying to enter the United States. “We again urge people not to take the risky journeys on the high seas which too often lead to the loss of life and the tragedy that occurred in the Exuma Cays,” said Mitchell, noting the Bahamas plans to take additional measures to prosecute smugglers.

Antonio Rodrigue, Haiti’s ambassador to the Bahamas, said migrants told him that they left from the L’île de la Tortue, a small island off Haiti’s northwest coast. “Not all of them are from the northwest,” Rodrigue said of the 111 survivors. “What struck me was the number of young people, teenagers.”

The boat left on Nov. 18, and officials said they believed that the Haitians who died did so from dehydration and starvation. The boat flipped sometime overnight Monday near Harvey Cay in the Exuma chain, about 200 miles southeast of Miami. It was the second time in recent weeks that the Coast Guard had responded to a fatal boating incident involving Haitian migrants.

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