Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd says Guyana is still awaiting official confirmation from Venezuelan authorities as it relates to reports of a third Guyanese fishing vessel being seized.
The Guyana-registered fishing boat ‘Miss Annie’ – GR972360 – and its seven-member crew were reportedly detained by a Venezuelan army on Monday.
The river patrol ranks of the Venezuelan National Armed Forces (FANB) reportedly captured the ship and detained crew members, who were intercepted in Mariusa, Tucupita, Amacuro Delta, Venezuela.
Minister Todd had previously told reporters that they had received reports of this third seizure but were awaiting confirmation from the Guyana Embassy in Caracas.
“I got a word from them today – the Embassy. They reported seeing media reports … and mentioned that the ship was trapped in Venezuelan waters and the coordinates indicate that they are in Venezuelan waters for illegal fishing. That’s what Caracas reported, ”said the Foreign Minister INews Friday night.
According to Minister Todd, the Caracas Embassy has reached out to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry to speak to the Vice Minister but, “so far, nothing was coming from the Ministry in Venezuela. So, I would suggest we treat it as unconfirmed reports … I can only speak definitively when I speak to the Foreign Ministry. “
As for the two other Guyanese fishing boats and 12 fishermen detained just over a week ago by the Venezuelan navy, Todd said the Guyana government is working furiously to get the men released.
“They are still being detained and my understanding is that they are on the ship. But we are still trying our best for early release, ”the Foreign Minister told this announcement.
The two Guyanese fishing boats – Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf – were intercepted on January 21 while operating off the coast of Waini Point within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Guyana (EEZ) by the Venezuelan navy, which held members crew and captures the ships.
The captain of one of the ships, Lady Nayera, is Captain Richard Ramnarine and includes crew members Ramlakan Kamal, Nick Raghubar, Javin Boston, Michael Domingo and Joel Joseph.
The other ship, the Sea Wolf, is Captain Toney Garraway, and includes crew members Errol Gardener, Orland Roberts, Christopher Shaw, Shirvin Oneil and Randy Henry.
While Venezuelan People’s Power Minister for Foreign Relations, Jorge Arreaza, has ensured that crew members are treated with the utmost respect for their human rights and committed to pursuing their early release, since then The fishermen have been brought to court in Venezuelan and according to further reports coming out of Caracas suggesting that the men could be detained for about 45 days more while awaiting investigations in the Spanish-speaking nation.
Meanwhile, photos and videos have been circulating on social media of Venezuelan naval forces, allegedly “patrolling the disputed waters”.
But Minister Todd dismissed these as “fake news”. The photos and videos came from a training exercise by the Venezuelan navy since 2019.
“That’s not how we operate, it’s unusual for people to be doing it,” said the Minister.
He further noted that while the government has no control over social media posts, people should only look to authorities for official details and announcement on this issue.
“We are doing our best by issuing statements and I think the population should rely on the Foreign Ministry and the President for any updates or information on this issue. They should take the lead when we speak. But there are people in society who may want to distort or create confusion and we have no control over that, ”says Todd.