A number of persons who were attempting to illegally enter BVI waters at the weekend have been apprehended and detained by Customs and Immigration officers.
This is according to a media release from Her Majesty’s Customs which said the bust was a result of the newly-implemented 24-hour sea border protection initiative.
Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith said the 44-foot vessel carrying the persons in question was detected just after midnight on Saturday, August 29.
“The vessel was detected from a western direction by two of the platforms that are monitoring the territorial waters and a collective response was made by the Joint Task Force,” the media statement said.
It added: “The vessel was tracked from West End to Road Harbour where it was intercepted and secured with the occupants onboard, at this time when the borders are closed. The matter is being investigated by HM Customs.”
New resources strengthening border security
Commissioner Smith said the resources which have been made available to local law enforcement personnel to properly execute their duties while out at sea will continue to strengthen border security in the territory.
“I wish to commend the officers involved in this exercise for their hard work and diligence in vigilantly maintaining the integrity of our sea borders during this COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Smith further said the 24-hour mitigation strategy will be part of a long-term plan to ensure a permanent presence of security in the BVI’s waters.
The joint task force is comprised of officers from Customs, Immigration and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
Under the current curfew order, there is a restriction on the movement of vessels within the territorial waters, except for approved fisherfolk and intra-island ferries.
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