The five Pakistani men who jumped ship in Port Alberni in July and were arrested in Montreal pose no security threat to Canada and will likely be deported, Canada Border Service Agency spokesperson Jacqueline Roby said.
CBSA officers arrested the men in a residence in Montréal, Quebec on Aug. 15.
Roby would not comment about how the men ended up in Montreal or how CBSA found out they were there. “This information is part of the inquiry and cannot be revealed,” she said.
Even though the men aren’t considered security threats they will continue to be held in custody while the CBSA continues to conduct its investigation.
“They are detained because of flight risk, not because they represent a threat,” Roby said.
Roby did not disclose what’s next for the men. But “…before being removed, these persons still have access to due process and a pre-removal risk assessment to ensure that there is no risk to them being returned,” she said.
In July, the RCMP said that the CBSA warrant for the men was for “apprehension and questioning” to determine the men’s intent of entry.
The warrant was in fact for the men’s removal, Roby said. “These individuals were found to be inadmissible for deserting the ship which they were on,” she said. The men were “…therefore no longer in compliance with Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.”
Citing the CBSA “on-going investigation” Roby would not explain the nine-day delay between the time the men were arrested in Montreal and Tuesday’s CBSA announcement.
The men were crewmembers aboard the Pakistan-registered Chitral, which arrived in Port Alberni on July 26.
They were reported missing on Wednesday, July 27 and CBSA subsequently issued an arrest warrant for them.
Police determined that the men took a cab from Port Alberni to Nanaimo.
Two of the men were dropped of at the Departure Bay ferry terminal where they spent the night and caught the early morning ferry to Vancouver.
The other three men were dropped off at the Duke Point ferry terminal, where they managed to catch a ferry to Vancouver that night.