Over 20 feared dead as Venezuelan boat capsizes on route to Trinidad

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, last Friday The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard had joined the search and rescue mission for a boat carrying 25 people from Venezuela, which overturned on its way to the twin-island republic.

So far, only four of those on board the Venezuelan-registered pirogue have been rescued. The other 21 are unaccounted for and feared dead.

A statement issued by the Coast Guard yesterday said that it had received a report at 11:40 p.m. on Wednesday, that the vessel left Venezuela on Tuesday and reportedly overturned while at sea.

It reported the last known position of the vessel as two nautical miles (3.7 km) east of Patos Island, an island in the north-western Gulf of Paria and a part of Venezuela.

The Coast Guard explained that the coordination of the search and rescue operation in that geographic area is the responsibility of Venezuela, since Patos Island is located within the South American country’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre.

But it said it is working closely with its Venezuelan counterparts to ensure an effective search and rescue operation.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard has been engaged and in accordance with the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard’s roles and responsibilities with regard to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) as well as our diplomatic links with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard assets have already been actioned to aid in the search and rescue operation and further vessel deployments will be coordinated, once required,” the Coast Guard said.