…vessel possibly drifting to T&T based on ocean current – MARAD
After hours of aerial search on Wednesday, authorities were still unable to locate the boat with the decomposed bodies that was initially sighted on Monday offshore Guyana.
Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Godfrey Bess, in a brief telephone interview, told Guyana Times that after a five-hour aerial search on Wednesday, there were still no signs of the boat.
At the time, he said a vessel was still offshore continuing the search, but from all indications, the boat was still nowhere to be seen.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), in a statement to the press on Wednesday evening, explained that “the boat with the seemingly lifeless persons on board, has not been seen since the evening of Monday, February 15, 2021”.
The agency explained that a vessel with Coast Guards attached to the GDF remained at sea with the aim of locating the vessel. At the time of the press release’s dissemination, which was around 18:20h, MARAD said “they also did not report any sighting of the boat”.
The boat with dead bodies was first seen on Monday about 112 nautical miles off Guyana’s coast.
A crew from ExxonMobil had informed MARAD of the situation. The bodies were in a badly-decomposed state, but it was suspected that there were about five to ten persons. The unverified photos of the vessel seen by this publication suggested that the bodies were mutilated.
MARAD had asked ExxonMobil to put out a tow line and bring the boat to shore but the crew indicated that they had to seek permission. By 15:00h, they received permission to tow the boat to the shore, but their efforts proved unsuccessful.
The boat was last sighted around 17:53h on Monday approximately 83 miles off Guyana’s coast. Authorities say the boat was drifting in a western direction.
On Tuesday, after hours of searching, the boat was not found. During an emergency press conference on Tuesday night, officials explained that the weather was bad at sea and there was a possibility that the boat had sunk.
On Tuesday, two boats with two 200-horsepower outboard engines had left Morawhanna in Region One (Barima-Waini) and executed search patterns offshore and inshore, that encompassed the area from the western boundary of Guyana’s maritime border all the way to Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast. Additionally, the GDF executed three reconnaissance flights over the initial search area, and also the expanded search area. Despite these efforts, the vessel was not found.
Notwithstanding, MARAD said it has since published a “Navigational Warning” via the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) informing all vessels in the general area to be on the lookout for a boat adrift, and to report any sighting.
MARAD said it has also sent emails to several “equivalent organisations” seeking their assistance in identifying the boat and the remains of those on board. MARAD has also informed the Administration in Trinidad and Tobago to notify vessels about the boat, since the surrounding ocean current can possibly take it to that country.