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Luxury Expedition Ship Ocean Explorer calls on Freeport Harbor

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By Andrew Coakley

Bahamas Information Services

 

#TheBahamas, April 21, 2022 – Deputy Port Director at Freeport Harbor, Mr. Charles Rolle welcomed the Ocean Explorer Ship to Freeport on Saturday, April 16, 2022 and a plaque exchange took place between Mr. Rolle and Captain Apostolos Kaknis of the Ocean Explorer to make the visit official.

Mr. Rolle noted that the plaque exchange is a nautical tradition and serves as a sign of welcome and friendship. It was the Explorer’s first time into Freeport, and according to the Deputy Port Director, it will not be the last.

“Having this ship come into Grand Bahama for the first time and for subsequent times in the future is a big deal for us here in Grand Bahama,” Mr. Rolle noted during the short ceremony on the dock of the Freeport Harbor.

“It’s a new opening when we have ships call on our harbor for the first time or when we have cruise lines have new ships that call on our Port. It suggests that people are coming to Grand Bahama. It suggests that new cruise lines are interested in coming to Grand Bahama. And that is significant for Grand Bahama because it means an economic boost.”

Mr. Rolle noted that the economic impact of a new ship calling on the Port of Freeport extends beyond the port, into the stalls of the vendors and taxi drivers that surround the harbor and even as far as into Port Lucaya, where a lot of the passengers from the ships tend to venture too in an effort to find that unique Bahamian souvenirs and trinkets.

“This is very impactful on the economy of Grand Bahama and everyone gets an opportunity to benefit,” added Mr. Rolle.

It’s the first time that a ship like the Ocean Explorer has called on Freeport Harbor. Unlike traditional cruise ships that caters to relaxation and entertainment for the entire family, the Explorer is focused on expedition and adventure. Making trips to Antarctica, Iceland and to other places where traditional cruise ships and other huge vessels are unable to navigate, the Ocean Explorer attracts passengers with a thirst for adventurer and discovery.

The ship has the capacity for 200 passengers.

Captain of the Ocean Explorer Apostolos Kaknis said the passengers were excited to be in Freeport and experience the “great weather”, considering the harsher weather they had endured only days earlier, having sailed from Antarctica. The call on Freeport Harbor caps the conclusion of the Ocean Explorer’s first season of sailing.

“Our guests are already off the ship and out into the harbor walking around and enjoying this beautiful weather that you have here in Freeport,” said Captain Kaknis.

“This vessel sails around the world in special places and that’s what attracts people to our brand. We are on the luxury scale and our customers are upscale individuals economically, who want to visit and enjoy places that most people will not want to visit. But they go for adventure and for exploration.

From Freeport the Ocean Explorer will travel to the United States, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Europe, Antarctica and back to Freeport. Captain Kaknis said ending the sailing season in Freeport is like icing on the cake for the passengers and crew members and they look forward to returning to Freeport to end another season.

WELCOME TO GRAND BAHAMA – Officials from the Ministry of Tourism were on hand to welcome the Ocean Explorer to the Port of Grand Bahama on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at the Freeport Harbor. A plaque exchange between tourism officials and the captain of the Ocean Explorer was held to officially welcome the new ship to Freeport. On hand for the plaque exchange were (from left) Elaine Smith (Niche Markets & Groups and Events Coordinator at the Ministry of Tourism, GB); Nuvolari Chootosingh (Niche Markets & Groups and Events Manager, Ministry of Tourism, GB) and Captain of the Ocean Explorer, Apostolos Kaknis.

PLAQUE EXCHANGE – Deputy Port Director at the Freeport Harbor, Mr. Charles Rolle (second from left) exchanges plaques with Captain of the Ocean Explorer, Apostolos Kaknis in a short ceremony at the Freeport Harbor on Saturday, April 16, 2022, to welcome the Ocean Explorer calling on the Freeport Harbor for the first time. The Ocean Explorer port of call in Freeport ended the ship’s first season of sailing, arriving in Grand Bahama from Antarctica. Also on hand for the plaque exchange were Shawn Thurston, a Marine Pilot (second from right) and Roman Laing, marine pilot (left).

(BIS photos)

Lisa Davis

Bahamas News

Statement From The Ministry  of Foreign Affairs – On Order  For All Bahamians  To Leave Haiti

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#TheBahamas, January 26, 2023 – The Prime Minister  has ordered an immediate involuntary  departure from Haiti  of all diplomatic  personnel or as soon as security conditions  permit.Up to this time, there was a voluntary departure order in place and all staff at the embassy  chose to stay.  Per the new instructions, they are to leave for home as soon as conditions  permit.  This is only a temporary  measure in light of recent developments  which require a corporate  security and intelligence  assessment  and restaging.This morning  the Chargè  reported that they had been stopped by Haitian police and relieved of their vehicle and weapons. This is part of a protest by the Haitian National Police against  their own authorities.All of our diplomats are personally  safe.There also is a report  of 5 Bahamians from Bahamasair who landed at Port Au Prince Airport who were unable to leave the environs of the airport.  They are all safe and well.  The security situation  appears less stable over the past three days in the country, and we are taking steps out of an abundance  of caution.The pattern of security concerns is one of ebb and flow and these withdrawals are sometimes  necessary  to regroup.  The Security Forces  in our country have been alerted to these developments.  As soon as conditions  permit a team will be sent back into Haiti without further announcement.PLQ
Courtesy of BIS

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Bahamas takes in 396 Haitian migrants; shocking interception

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

 

#TheBahamas, January 25, 2023 – In what is being described by Bahamian officials as one of the largest human smuggling incidents in the region, 394 Haitian migrants were intercepted by the United States Coast Guard near Cay Sal Island on Saturday, January 21.

According to immigration officials in The Bahamas, the migrants will be processed on the island of Inagua and later repatriated.

US Coast Guard spokeswoman Nicole Groll described the condition of the intercepted boat to the Associated Press on Monday. She said, “it was grossly overloaded and very much unsafe.”

The officials did not provide any further information on the matter.

The recent apprehension brings the total number of Haitian migrants intercepted in Bahamian waters since the start of the year to just over five hundred (500) persons.

Due to the worsening humanitarian, a surge in gang violence and deepening political instability in Haiti, thousands of Haitians are fleeing their country in search of a better life for themselves and family.

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Governor and Premier make official visit to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas

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#TurksandCaicos, January 25, 2023 – On 4th to 8th December 2022, a delegation led by His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin and the Premier, Honorable Charles W. Missick made an official visit to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.  The delegation also included officials from the National Security Secretariat, Police, TCI Regiment and the Office of the Premier.

(From Left to Right: Governor HE Nigel Dakin, Governor General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Sir Cornelius A. Smith and Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick)

Day one of the three-day visit included meetings with: the Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Phillip Davis; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service, Hon. Frederick Mitchell; the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Wayne Monroe; the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Commodore Raymond King and the British High Commission.

The agenda for the second day involved a courtesy call with H.E. Governor General, Sir Cornelius Smith, followed by detailed meetings with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, led by its Commander, Dr Raymond King and the Royal Bahamas Police Force led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Leamond Deleveaux. This included a tour of the Defence Force base at Coral Harbour.  The second day ended with a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Michael Pintard.

On the third day, the TCI delegation was hosted by the United States Embassy led by Mrs. Usha Pitts, Charge d’ Affaires, and the United States Coast Guard led by Captain Benjamin Golightly.  That evening a reception was held by the Charge d’ Affaires and, on the previous evening, a formal Dinner by the Governor General.

The focus of the visit was threefold – to say thank you to the Government of the Bahamas for their support over the last year – particularly the deployment of twenty-four Bahamian Police Officers to TCI and the operationalizing of the Bahamas/TCI Ship-Rider Agreement. TCI also noted and welcomed the decentralization of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force which brought naval assets closer to the TCI borders and opportunities to further fuse and co-ordinate our collective surveillance assets, including TCI being invited to provide Liaison Officers in the Bahamas Defense Force Command Centre to better fuse maritime intelligence.

Secondly, to brief on and discuss matters of shared National Security interests and threats. Thematic areas of mutual interest included: Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) including the next OPBAT conference, scheduled for March 2023; maritime security (future ratification of jurisdictional boundaries between the TCI and Bahamas); expansion of coastal radar networks; decentralization of Defence Force naval assets; expanding the Bahamas/TCI Ship-Rider program; and sharing of resources, information and intelligence which will be aided by TCI’s new legal intercept provisions.

Additionally, through discussions with Bahamian colleagues, it was evident that TCI and the Bahamas face similar threats individually and collectively in the region including trans-national gangs, smuggling of people, illicit drugs and weapons and the continued destabilization of Haiti – which if left unchecked – could lead to a mass migration event that could have significant implications for the Lucayan Island chain (TCI and Bahamas).

(From Left to Right: HE Governor Nigel Dakin, Bahamas National Security Minister Hon. Wayne Munroe and Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick)

Thirdly, the delegation from TCI sought to explore areas to deepen and strengthen TCI’s friendship with the Bahamas – now and in the future. TCI advised of its intention to seek full membership of CARICOM – for which a letter of entrustment that allows for this negotiation has been provided by the United Kingdom.  Deliberations consisted of a request to extend the Bahamian Police contingent in TCI – since agreed – and strengthening the: National Security-to-National Security, Police-to-Police and Military–to-Military relationships including information sharing, improved collaboration and training.

Moreover, the unanimous resolve is to establish and strengthen a relationship between our national security functions on all matters of national security.  In this first instance, both countries will seek to learn from each other on two key common challenges: informal settlements and causes of crime.

Furthermore, the TCI offered the Royal Bahamas Defence Force an opportunity to host and deploy their naval assets in Grand Turk, to jointly task the aerial surveillance aircraft that is being procured by the United Kingdom, for TCI, and to share – in real time, TCI’s coastal radar network with the Maritime Operations Center in the Bahamas. This mutually beneficial arrangement will expand the Bahamian southern border of protection while allowing for increased coverage of TCI’s waters.

Also, the Premier, in communicating his intention to open an official TCIG office in Nassau in February 2023 had this to say:

“As part of the Turks and Caicos development goals it is important  to leverage the broad contribution that our kin and kind offer to the homeland. While we are reaching out to our global diaspora family it is generally believed that the largest proportion of Turks and Caicos Islanders live through-out the Bahamas: for that reason it is only fitting that we start by establishing an office there. The office will not have consular status but will with deference to the Governor’s office liaise with the British High Commission in Nassau where and when required to do so.

(Turks and Caicos Islands Government Delegation with the leadership of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force)

Additionally, the Bahamas is our closest neighbour. The people of our countries share similar cultures, close family ties and perform important roles in each other countries.  We also enjoy a high level of informal co-operation in many fields including security, medicine law and politics.  Additionally, we share leadership of several church and civic organisations. The Bahamas has been a friend to the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is only fitting that we formally recognise our friendship and a commitment to work closely together in our mutual interest. An office in the Nassau will help us to do just that. We also welcome the expressed intention of the Bahamas to establish a consular office in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

H.E Nigel Dakin said:

“The Bahamas could not have made us feel more welcome or valued. The regional and trans-national threats we face are too large for TCI to face alone. Indeed, because criminals and smugglers so easily cross borders, they are too large for the Bahamas, or even the US, to face alone. We are stronger together – and our individual security needs to be increasingly thought of in terms of our collective security.

We have worked diligently over recent years to strengthen OPBAT. We can feel the difference at sea, and the Bahamas support to our Policing effort has helped demonstrate that very clearly to our population on land. 

But there is so much more we can do together – particularly in the area of intelligence sharing, where TCI is developing, and will develop further strength, that our allies can draw on. While the threat won’t diminish, I’m confident our collective response will only now accelerate, and we can disrupt and arrest those that believe they can operate between and against our jurisdictions. I look forward to the OPBAT Conference in March to continue this engagement and I’m grateful that the Bahama’s have chosen to continue their Tactical Firearms Officer Support to us as we enter 2023”.  

 

Header: (From Left to right: Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick, HE Governor Nigel Dakin, Prime Minister Hon. Philip Brave Davis and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. E. Chester Cooper)

 

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