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Trinidad and Tobago

V’zuela coast guard leads search for refugees

A photograph from Robert Richards' Facebook page shows a man, said to be a Venezuelan, in distress in waters off Chaguaramas.
A photograph from Robert Richards' Facebook page shows a man, said to be a Venezuelan, in distress in waters off Chaguaramas.

The man found floating north of Chacachacare last week Friday by a fishing vessel heading to Grenada remains the only person found to date from a boat that left Margarita, Venezuela, en route to Trinidad on Thursday. Nineteen others are still missing.

This was the second vessel that sank while carrying Venezuelan refugees who were trying to escape from the troubled country.

Public relations officer of the TT Coast Guard (TTC) Lt Sherron Manswell said since the incident took place in Venezuelan waters, the Venezuelan coast guard's Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MSRCC) has taken the lead on the searches. While the TTCG has not increased its patrols, he said, if bodies drifted across into TT waters, the Coast Guard is more than ready to assist.

The Coast Guard said based on the calculated search area, it decided the missing people were most likely in Venezuelan waters and therefore will be located within the MSRCC area in Venezuela, and as such, it was their responsibility to investigate and co-ordinate search and rescue operations within that geographic area.

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