Customs officers detained 30 migrants on Saturday after responding to a report of a suspicious vessel in the Kingstown area, Customs Commissioner Wade Smith said on Tuesday.
After returning from an operation at sea, customs officers received information about the vessel at about 10:30 a.m. and headed back out on the water, Mr. Smith said, adding that they observed two people attempting to flee as they approached the vessel.
“They then activated the Joint Task Force,” and police and immigration officers captured the two people while customs officers boarded the vessel, sailed it to shore, and began processing the migrants at about 1 p.m., according to the commissioner.
All 30 are now in detention, and none has been charged, Mr. Smith said.
Asked about what the territory will do with the detainees, he said, “Usually … the Immigration Department will make contact with their home country and start the process to have them repatriated.”
The commissioner said it is not yet known where the vessel was headed, though he added that it was anchored at the time of the operation.
Mr. Smith also said there were men, women and children aboard the boat, but he declined to provide specifics about the passengers’ ages, genders, or nationalities.
Asked about the nationalities of the fleeing men, Mr. Smith said, “We don’t want to say too much about that part because it is still under investigation.”