Cubans rescued from sinking boat

| 02/02/2016 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service

RCIPS Joint Marine Unit vessel, the Niven D

(CNS): A call to the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands from a sailing vessel heading to Panama helped the local marine police save the lives of fifteen Cuban migrants who were aboard a sinking boat south of Cayman, police said. The group of four women and eleven men were said to be aboard an old wooden vessel and when the sail boat crew spotted them at around 10am Monday. They were flying a white flag and appeared to be bailing water from the makeshift vessel.

Illustrating the dangers that Cubans face when they risk the journey to the United States, usually via Honduras, in boats and on rafts that are unsafe, the eleven migrants were in clear danger of drowning as their vessel was sinking some four miles south of South West Point and being pulled west by the wind.

When the Port Authority received the message from the sailboat, the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit sent its vessel, the Niven D, from South Sound and reached the sinking boat within 25 minutes. Everyone on board indicated that they wished to get off the sinking boat and come ashore, police said, and they were taken without injury on the JMU boat to the Red Bay Dock, where they were met by immigration officers.

“We believe that the coordination of first responders with the public in this instance helped avert a water tragedy,” said Inspector Leo Anglin, RCIPS Marine Commander. “We would like to remind the boating community to be aware of the fact that they may encounter such situations when out on the water, and to inform the Port Authority or the 911 Communications Centre right away if they do.”

Meanwhile, three other Cuban migrants that arrived in Cayman waters this weekend and who are believed to have come ashore on Sunday in the Beach Bay area are still at large. CNS has contacted the immigration department for an update and we are awaiting a response.

In 2015 around 225 Cubans arrived in Cayman. Just one month into 2016, reports suggest that almost 100 migrants have already arrived in Cayman waters this year, half of whom were detained by immigration.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Sharkey says:

    I really do think that the Government needs to be more passionate towards the Cuban refugees , and we needs to be able realize that their country was once good like Cayman Islands , but that changed is why they are running and trying to find a better life . We need to remember the saying, what go’s around comes around.

  2. Sharkey says:

    I know that back in the 70s and 80s the Cuban refugees were teachers ,engineers ,mechanics, and any other kind of professional . Wouldn’t it be better to know if these people are professionals and keep them on the Island and give them a chance to better their lives and help the Islands economy. Then get rid of the one’s that are causing crime and havoc.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Imagine how many don’t get that call and end up on the bottom of the sea. Heartbreaking.

  4. Just Askin' says:

    Same ones that were given supplies and carried out repairs in Cayman over the weekend?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I know for a fact that these cubans that almost lost they lives were given assistance by residents in breach of cayman rules. How dare you send these people to almost death. Shame on you. Thank Godness our marine officers acted quickly.

    To those that thought they were helping them by giving them some supplies and trying to fix an unseaworthy boat. How would you feel if the headlines read. cubans drown after leaving cayman. Shame on you. Obey the rules.

    • Anonymous says:

      How about if they were allow to make the repairs properly rather that being rushed out to see by government officials?

      • Anonymous says:

        have you seen these boats? no amount of repairs will help…. they are death traps. stop encouraging these people to come to their deaths!!

        how can we call helping them to leave in these crappy boats humane treatment. repatriation is the only safe option.

        i agree with 12:40 shame on us for almost sending these people to their death!!

        oh and if you really want to help there are 100 Cubans here now- take some food and water and clothes to immigration. I bet none of you will!! but you want to run down to the dock and fill up an unsafe vessel with supplies – shame on you!!

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