Approximately four days of monitoring and intense negotiations the situation with the migrants onboard the MV Bulk Freedom has ended. The operation concluded without any serious injury to any of the migrants or the ship’s crew. It is also worthy to communicate that there were no reports of damage to property.
In consideration of the risk to the health and well-being of a migrant infant on board the vessel authorities obtained a court issued emergency protection order and warrant under the Children Act on the evening of 8th April. This court order authorized the immediate removal of the infant child from the MV Bulk Freedom to a place of safety. Following a brief tactical intervention, the infant was removed from the ship and immediately upon arrival at the George Town Seaport, the infant was taken to and treated at the George Town Hospital and is currently in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
In the process of enforcing the court issued authority the infants’ father was obstructive and sustained minor head injuries. He was subsequently arrested, removed from the vessel and taken to GTH for medical treatment. Shortly afterwards he was released from GTH and taken to the RCIPS Detention Centre where he was held overnight. It is expected that he will be released later today and transferred to an approved quarantine facility.
The remaining migrants’ voluntarily left the vessel and have been placed in quarantine at a government mandated facility. They will be processed in accordance with the COVID-19 safety protocols.
While this situation may become a factor in the processing of the other migrants asylum applications, any claims that their applications have already been denied is incorrect.
It should be mentioned that CBC along with partner agencies, RCIPS and CIGC maintained close contact with the Captain of the MV Bulk Freedom and thanked him and his crew for their support in bringing this situation to positive closure. Likewise, the welfare and safety of the crew were kept in mind at all times. CBC also established and maintained communication with the vessel’s management team.
Upon disembarkation of all migrants from the vessel, inquiries were made of the captain on assistance that may have been required before departure. With no assistance being required or other formalities to be addressed, CBC advised the captain that vessel was free to depart which was put in motion shortly after the migrants were removed.