The Coast Guard has confirmed that it is embarking on a search and rescue mission of a Venezuelan vessel that sank on its way to Trinidad and Tobago, with dozens of Venezuelans on board.
A statement by the Coast Guard said that it received a report at 11.40 pm Wednesday, indicating that a pirogue named B/P JHONNALY JOSE (Registration Number: ARSI-CA-0067) left Venezuela on Tuesday and was reported to have overturned whilst at sea.
The Coast Guard said that today it was confirmed that 25 persons were on board the vessel with the last known position of the vessel as two nautical miles (3.7 km) East of Patos Island, an island in the north-western Gulf of Paria and a part of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
"Additionally, we have been informed that a total of four persons have been rescued and 21 persons are currently still unaccounted for," the statement said.
It added: "This island is located within the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre of Venezuela and as such it is their responsibility to coordinate search and rescue operations within that geographic area. However, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard has been engaged and in accordance with the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard’s roles and responsibilities with regard to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) as well as our diplomatic links with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard assets have already been actioned to aid in the search and rescue operation and further vessel deployments will be coordinated, once required."
The Coast Guard said it will work closely with its Venezuelan counterparts to ensure an effective search and rescue operation.