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Antiguan Captain still at large

An Antiguan and Barbudan national, who was said to be the Captain of an ill-fated vessel that sank off the coast of St. Kitts, remains at large in St Kitts and Nevis after escaping custody nearly four months ago.




Nicholas Santana Areche was the captain of “La Belle Michelle”, a boat that had 32 people onboard, which left Antigua & Barbuda but sank on March 28th due to engine problems and overcrowding. Among the fatalities were 14 Cameroonians, with only 16 survivors.




The 53-year-old fugitive has managed to avoid capture, leaving authorities puzzled about his whereabouts. To date, there not been official word to state if the Antiguan national has left the Federation.




The fourteen (14) Cameroon nationals in the meantime, remain in St. Kitts, authorities said in June. Also, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) granted the Cameroon nationals “Asylum Seeker Status”. Therefore, in addition to being protected against forced repatriation to their home country, the Cameroon nationals are entitled to continued humanitarian care while their asylum requests to UNHCR are being processed.




The Federal Government will continue to collaborate closely with the UNHCR and provide the Cameroon nationals with the necessary basic humanitarian services. The official Asylum Seeker Certificates were hand-delivered to the Cameroon nationals on June 10th. This arrangement will remain in place for ninety (90) days while their asylum applications are in progress.