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CBP Admits First Mass Evacuees from Bahamas

Release Date: 
September 7, 2019

Cruise Ship Arrives at Palm Beach, FL with nearly 1,500 Evacuees

** Editor’s Note: Latest information and imagery of CBP’s Hurricane Dorian response efforts can be downloaded at the following links:

MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers processed the first mass evacuations from the Bahamas in West Palm Beach, Fla., today after Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc on the islands.

CBP officers process Bahamas evacuees from the C/S Grand Celebration in Palm Beach, Fla., September 7, 2019.
CBP officers process Bahamas evacuees
from the C/S Grand Celebration in Palm
Beach, Fla., September 7, 2019.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration arrived at the Port of West Palm Beach with 1,435 passengers from the devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands at 8:45 a.m. today. CBP officers quickly processed all passengers, which consisted of 539 U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, 857 Bahamians, and 39 other nationalities.

Palm Beach County officials were on scene to render medical and other assistance to the evacuees.

“It was comforting to see the relief on the faces of the evacuees after they survived such a harrowing experience,” said Diane J. Sabatino, CBP’s Lead Field Coordinator for Region IV. “The Bahamas is facing a long recovery and Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Government is pleased to do what we can to help our neighbors following this catastrophic storm.”

CBP worked closely with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line prior to the arrival of the Grand Celebration.

CBP encourages aircraft and vessel operators to coordinate volunteer support with the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID). USAID is working closely with the Government of the Bahamas and humanitarian partners in the Bahamas to coordinate relief efforts. Learn how you can help at https://www.usaid.gov/dorian.

CBP continues to support Bahamas rescue and recovery efforts.

CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) H60 Blackhawk helicopter crews have airlifted 80 Bahamas and United States citizens to hospitals or local shelters in Nassau, Bahamas. Additionally, CBP AMO P-3 aircraft crews continue to fly damage assessment missions and serve as local air traffic controller for interagency aircraft.

CBP Region IV covers Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands.

CBP officers process Bahamas evacuees from the C/S Grand Celebration in Palm Beach, Fla., September 7, 2019.Historically, CBP officers and agents support local, state, and federal agency partners during natural or man-made disasters or other national emergencies. CBP contributes a variety of personnel and unique capabilities — including aerial and urban search and rescue, advanced first aid, and aviation assets with real-time aerial damage assessment, and tracking and detection capabilities.

CBP’s highest priorities during a hurricane responses are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible and the speedy recovery of the region.

For information updates on CBP’s response efforts, follow CBP’s Instagram, Flickr, and DVIDS pages, and Twitter at @CBP, @CBPFlorida and @CBPSoutheast

Last modified: 
September 7, 2019