Venezuelan authorities have asked for documents for the two Guyanese fishing vessels, captains and crew members that were intercepted last week by that Spanish-speaking nation’s navy, the owners said Sunday.
The captains and crew members of the vessels named Sea Wolf and Lady Nayera are reportedly in contact with the owners in Guyana.
So far, they the captains and crews were remaining on the vessels at Guiria and have sufficient food and water. They are reportedly not being mistreated by the Venezuelan military.
The owners on Sunday insisted that their vessels were intercepted by the Venezuelan military well inside Guyana’s maritime space.
“They came eight miles into Guyanese waters and collect the boat,” Owner of the Sea Wolf, Kenneth “Scar Face” Garraway told Demerara Waves Online News/ News-Talk Radio 103.1 FM. He said his boat should have returned on Saturday at the end of its 14-day fishing operation, but they were instead escorted by the Venezuelan Navy on Thursday. The boat, engine and all gears and equipment, he said, is valued at about GYD$29 million. He related that this was the fifth time that Sea Wolf went to sea since he acquired it late last year.
Owner of the Lady Nayera , Kumar Lallbachan said the Venezuelan navy subsequently deleted the GPS location that had logged their locations at the time of the intercept, but he still has concrete evidence of where they were at the time. “We have all evidence that the boat was in Guyana waters when they apprehend it and take it to Venezuela,” he said.
Mr. Garraway said his vessel is captained by his cousin Toney Garraway, with the crew members being Randy Henry, Sherwin Henry, Sherwin O’Neil, Orland Roberts, Christopher Shaw and Errol Gardener. Most of them are from the Essequibo Coast.
The captain and crew of the Lady Nayera are Richard Ramnarine, Nick Raghubar, Joel Joseph, Ramlakhan Kawall and Michael Domingo.
While there were no immediate reports of the Guyanese men having been harmed physically, Mr. Garraway said a female senior Venezuela military officer was “not behaving nice.” Based on information gleaned from crew members, he said instructions have been issued for the catch to be offloaded and they could be arraigned on Monday on trumped up charges of illegally fishing in Venezuela’s waters
Mr. Lallbachan said the Venezuelan authorities have asked the captain and crew of his boat for statements and “we are waiting on the next move as to what they will do.” The owner of the Lady Nayera added that based on preliminary information, he did not believe that his employees’ human rights were being violated. “They say everything is safe so far and I don’t believe they are getting bad treatment based on what I have heard but maybe when they are freed from there, then we will know what else was done,” he said.
He said the recently overhauled Lady Nayera was almost in new condition is valued GYD$20 million. That vessel was due to return to shore with its catch on January 28.
The Guyana government has confirmed the interception of the vessels last week Thursday and has called on the Venezuelan government to release the boats and crew.
Georgetown has accused Venezuela of violating Guyana’s sovereign maritime space including its Exclusive Economic Zone.
The interception comes less than one month after President Nicolas Maduro unilaterally decreed the extension of his country’s maritime boundary to take in all of Guyana’s sea space up to western bank of the Essequibo River.