Authorities in the Turks & Caicos Islands intercepted a boat Monday with 82 Haitian migrants as it passed through the British Caribbean chain’s waters.
The government said marine police seized the overloaded sloop early Monday and brought it safely to port. The boat was taking on water when it was intercepted, they said.
The 60 men and 22 women were handed over to immigration officials at a detention centre. The Haitians are expected to be returned to their impoverished homeland later this week.
One migrant was treated for fatigue and another for a leg laceration sustained when the person tried to jump overboard to escape the police, according to authorities.
On Monday, the Turks & Caicos minister in charge of border control called on the Haitian government to do a better job dissuading or stopping migrants from attempting the often-perilous sea voyages.
“I urge the Haitian authorities to stop these attempts at illegal migration from their shores to the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said Ricardo Don Hue Gardiner, adding it was a “disproportionate burden on the resources” of the tiny U.K. territory.
The British territory is between Haiti and the Bahamas and has long been both a destination and a smuggling route for Haitian migrants.