Last Updated on Tuesday, 2 February 2021, 22:21 by Denis Chabrol
Venezuela Tuesday evening agreed to release the two Guyanese-registered fishing vessels that were intercepted by that country’s Navy 13 days ago, a top government official confirmed.
Sources said the captains of the Lady Nayera and Sea Wolf were informed at about 6 PM that they were free to leave the Venezuelan port of Guiria. The two crews comprising of 12 persons were unharmed.
High-level government sources said the vessels would depart Venezuela on Wednesday morning, an obvious sigh of relief not only for the crews and owners of the vessels but also the families including two pregnant wives.
The vessels were ordered released in the face of international pressure and mounting isolation of Venezuela by the international community. Caracas had claimed that the boats had been in its Exclusive Economic Zone and fishing without the required documents.
The Organisation of American States, Caribbean Community, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil and other countries had called for the release of the boats and respect for international law.
Major Western Nations and inter-governmental organisations have frowned on Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro’s issuance of a decree that purports to extend his country’s maritime boundary up to the eastern bank of the Essequibo River.
Venezuela’s Navy intercepted the boats well within Guyanese waters off the Essequibo Region on January 21, 2021 days after the decree was issued.