Daring Helicopter Rescue At Sea Exemplifies Bahamas-United States Cooperation
NASSAU, The Bahamas — A daring, night-time helicopter rescue in high seas of 18 persons on board a foundering vessel in Bahamian water Wednesday night, best exemplified the longstanding maritime relationship between The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the United States of America, Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham said Thursday.
Addressing the Opening Session of the Second Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue (CBSI) at the Atlantis Theatre, Paradise Island, Prime Minister Ingraham described the rescue operation as a “time-honoured” relationship between The Bahamas and the United States Coast Guard in the area of search and rescue.
“Just last night (Wednesday, November 9, 2011), a mail boat ran aground and was taking on water just off the coast of Abaco, my home island,” Prime Minister Ingraham said. “There were 18 souls including one child, onboard. Emergency calls for assistance were placed to our Defence Force Base, to the volunteer Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA), and to US Forces based at AUTEC (Atlantic Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre) in Andros, another of our islands.
“It was soon determined that conditions would not permit a rescue by boat. Only the US Coast Guard helicopter, dispatched from Andros, was able to rescue the nine crew and the nine passengers from the Legacy and transport them all to safety in Marsh Harbour, Abaco,” Prime Minister Ingraham said.
“It is impossible to adequately express the appreciation of the Bahamian people for this kind of assistance and support which we have been fortunate enough to benefit from, and continue to enjoy today.”
Prime Minister Ingraham said rescue operations like that of the MV Legacy are not unusual in an island chain. He said similar stories of US Coast Guard rescues “can be recounted from experiences had over many years in our country”.
“Indeed we have come to almost expect, that in times of disasters of this kind, we can always count on the assistance of the United States of America.”
Prime Minister Ingraham told delegates that the maritime relationship between The Bahamas and the United States of America, through the US Coast Guard, predates the excellent cooperation which now exists between the agency and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force with a view to countering the transshipment and trade in illegal substances, weapons and humans.
He said the country’s proximity to the “North American Homeland” has meant that The Bahamas –USA relationship is often “first familial, social and economic, which has greatly enabled our official relationship”.
“On the official front, it would be remiss of me if I were not to acknowledge with much appreciation the time-honoured relationship between my country and the US Coast Guard in the area of search and rescue,” Prime Minister Ingraham added.
By: Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services