HMS ROTHESAY ON PATROL IN THE WEST INDIES [Allocated Title]
HMS Rothesay sends a shore party to apprehend intruders on South Anguilla Island. On 15 January the frigate picks up 132 refugees from Haiti stranded after their boat ran aground on Bonavista Cay in the Bahamas.
I. Gemini inflatables carry ashore a party of marines and sailors from HMS Rothesay. The sailors, armed with No 4 rifles, pick their way over the inhospitable terrain. They comb the beach area. A prisoner is brought in, hands behind his head - there is a brief scuffle when he shows some sign of resistance. The prisoner is stripped of his shirt and trousers in a thorough search. A sketch map held by a Lieutenant shows the party's location in the south west of 'South Angula Island'. After further beating of the brush the party secures a second prisoner, whose hands are secured behind his back before he is marched off. The search proceeds, assisted by a surveillance aircraft, a Grumman Albatross, which flies low overhead. The men assemble back on the beach, where supplies have been landed - ration boxes, jerry cans of water or fuel, and other equipment. A sailor's injured hand is carefully inspected. Two Gemini inflatables run in to the beach and the men form a human chain to unload kit from one of the craft.
II. The rescue of Haitian refugees from Bonavista Cay. While the frigate lies close inshore the Gemini dinghies are sent to the Cay to take off the Haitians. The refugees' open boat, which is quite small and must have been seriously overburdened, lies awash in the shallow water. The evacuation is watched by the crew of a US-registered ketch anchored nearby. The refugees have few or no personal effects - the only apparent possession of one man is a wood saw. One refugee stands in the sea cleaning his teeth with his finger. The ship's motor launch is brought in to help with the evacuation. A Royal Marine corporal, radio man for the operation, carries his equipment to the water's edge ready to be taken off in the last boat. Some tokens of the Haitians brief stay remain scattered over the beach - an empty bottle, a woven basket, some shoes, a shelter made out of palm fronds. One remaining refugee amuses himself tapping out a tune on an abandoned water barrel. The cameraman is on the last boat as it makes off past the abandoned wreck of the refugees' vessel - crewmen on the US yacht wave farewell.