Guyanese fishing vessel, crew attacked by armed Venezuelans
By Isanella Patoir
A Guyanese fishing vessel and its crew drifted at sea for two days after they were attacked by at least 12 Venezuelan nationals, who were armed with guns along the Waini River in Region One (Barima-Waini).
The attack occurred about a week ago and the crew was rescued by another fishing vessel after they drifted at sea for two days. They arrived home at the Zeelugt foreshore, West Coast Demerara, Friday morning.
The boat’s captain, Paresram Maniram told the News Room that they were stripped of everything valuing some $3.5 million.
Maniram said he and his crew of three fishermen were pulling in their seine when they encountered the armed Venezuelans, who held them at gunpoint and locked them inside a small section of the boat.
When the men finally managed to free themselves, they discovered that their catch of snapper, shark, trout and gilbacker were stolen, along with their food supplies, cooking and eating utensils; fuel, clothes and the documents for the vessel, including the captain’s license.
“Everything them man thief from [us]…GPS, radio, oil everything gone from the boat…all the fish outside of Waini and they take all [our] clothes,” Maniram explained.
Maniram said while he is thankful he and his crew are still alive, he called on the government to intervene and do more to protect fishermen at sea.
“We are asking for justice for fishermen, all of us have family…we going to work and them come thief from we,” Maniram said.
Meanwhile, the owner of the vessel, Goordeen Deopaul, told the News Room that he has since made a report at the Tuschen Police Outpost.
Following this attack, fishermen with vessels that are loaded and ready to go out to sea are now afraid to leave.
“We afraid to go to sea because of all what is happening and what them Venezuelan doing we in our own waters, we want some justice cause we can’t mind we family if we don’t go to sea,” another Captain, Hardat Singh, said.
Guyanese fishermen and their vessels continue to face attacks at sea and only recently, two Guyanese fishing vessels – the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf – were detained in Venezuela on a false claim that they were fishing in that country’s maritime space.
This occurred on January 21, 2021, and Guyana is adamant that the men were operating off the coast of Waini Point within Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Nevertheless, the vessels and crew were detained for two weeks before being released.
Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali had stated that Venezuela was told in clear terms that it has no authority to detain fishing crews and vessels working in Guyana’s EEZ.