The public prosecutor of Pointe-à-Pitre opened an investigation for manslaughter on Wednesday after the sinking of a boat registered in Guadeloupe carrying African migrants, which caused the death of three people and the disappearance of 13 others.
A "boat registered in Guadeloupe" capsized on Tuesday "off the coast of Saint Kitts and Nevis" , islands located north of the Guadeloupe archipelago. The circumstances of the accident are "still poorly determined" , but the capsize "caused the death of three people and the disappearance of 13 others" , according to a provisional report, said prosecutor Patrick Desjardins in a press release.
Mr. Desjardins has opened an investigation for "manslaughter by deliberate breach of a security obligation, involuntary injuries by deliberate breach of a security obligation, trafficking in human beings in an organized gang", he said on Wednesday.
“The identity of the victims, who are not French-speaking, and their nationalities could not at this time be determined with certainty ,” the same source said.
The boat, whose “owner is a French national residing in Guadeloupe” , carried “32 passengers” , still indicates the press release from the prosecution. The investigation was jointly entrusted to the research section of the Guadeloupe gendarmerie and the maritime gendarmerie.
The Martinique branch of CROSS Antilles-Guyane has been actively involved since Tuesday in search operations jointly with the authorities of Saint-Kitts and Nevis . A French ship is engaged in the area and on Wednesday, a Dutch coast guard plane flew over the area. He will be relayed in the afternoon by a French customs plane.
The two cruise ships hijacked on Tuesday to rescue the shipwrecked have left the area, said the prefecture of Martinique.
The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, had expressed on social media on Tuesday "his deep sorrow at the loss of life and the distress suffered by those aboard a vessel which illegally left Antigua -and-Barbuda earlier today, Tuesday, March 28 for an unknown destination, which capsized on the high seas".