The T&T Coast Guard has confirmed that 3:08am on Tuesday morning, it received a report of the robbery at sea involving seven vessels and fishermen being ordered into the water.
It says one if its vessels at Staubles Bay began “the search and rescue operation through the coordination and execution of detailed searches in the Gulf of Paria”.
The Coast Guard says it also coordinated an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to alert other seafarers, and those with maritime interest, of the situation.
It says it has increased patrols in the search and rescue area, maintaining a constant presence.
In addition, the Coast Guard says it has liaised with other agencies to aid in the
search and rescue operation providing aerial coverage of the area.
Full Statement from T&T Coast Guard
“On the 23 July 2019 at approximately 0308 hours (3:08 am), the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) received a report of a robbery at sea involving seven (7) vessels, with persons still in the water, in the vicinity of Orange Valley in the Gulf of Paria.
The reporting source also indicated that he along with other fishermen were beaten and were ordered to enter the water. Upon receipt of this report, a TTCG vessel slipped berth Staubles Bay to investigate and commenced the search and rescue operation through the coordination and execution of detailed searches in the Gulf of Paria. The TTCG has also coordinated an urgent marine information broadcast (UMIB), based on the information provided, to alert other seafarers and those with maritime interest of the situation.
The TTCG has continued to deploy maritime assets to provide further coverage and support to the search and rescue operation in the area.
On the 24 July 2019, the TTCG received information that the body of Anand Rampersad was recovered by fishermen assisting with the search, one and a half miles off the Couva Rig, located in the Gulf of Paria. Additionally, on the 24 July 2019, at approximately 1900 hours, (7:00 pm) another unidentified body was discovered.
On the 25 July 2019, while conducting patrols in the search and rescue area, the TTCG
discovered two (2) additional unidentified bodies in the vicinity of La Brea and Point Fortin. Therefore, leaving three (3) persons remaining unaccounted for.
Since reports of the incident were received, the TTCG has increased patrols in the search and rescue area, maintaining a constant presence, vital steps in ensuring the search and rescue process is successful.
Additionally, the TTCG have liaised with other agencies to aid in the search and rescue operation such as the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard, National Helicopter Services Limited and National Operations Centre who have been working with the TTCG in the search by providing aerial coverage of the area.
The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard will continue to provide the necessary coverage and operational coordination with regard to this situation and remains committed to maintaining the safety and security of the citizens of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.”