Venezuelan cargo boats continue to dock at San Fernando wharf

While the ban on Venezuelan ferries continued at the Cedros port, three Venezuelan cargo boats docked at Kings Wharf, San Fernando early Wednesday, bringing goods from Venezuela.

Around 7:30 am, Guardian Media captured the arrival of the vessels which came from Guiria.

One was a larger ship while the two others were smaller pirogues. 

Most of the Venezuelans did not speak English and they shied away from media cameras.

However, a source said the cargo included ground provisions from the South American mainland.

She requested that photographs of the boats not be used as they could be attacked by pirates.

The source said they had no problems docking at Kings Wharf, adding that most passenger vessels were being stopped off the Cedros port. 

Meanwhile, for the first time in two weeks, the Angel Orinoco was given permission dock in Cedros on Tuesday afternoon.

However, it was only allowed to bring in Trinidadian passengers.

A source in Cedros said, "There are so many people stranded here trying to return to Venezuela and those trying to return to Trinidad. The ferries cannot come in empty to pick up Venezuelans nor can they transport Trinidfadians alone so it is real chaos," the source added.

Councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh said the Coast Guard, Ministry of National Security and the Immigration department have continued to prevent Venezuelan ferries from docking at the port.

"The Minister is saying that the port is open and fully staffed but what is it functioning as? Ferries are not being given permission to come to the port to dock," Teelucksingh said.

He added, "Why are the cargo boats not docking at Cedros port. Why are they being allowed to dock in San Fernando and not in Cedros? Who is checking those cargoes?"

A Venezuelan entrepreneur who requested anonymity said the banning of the passenger vessels at Cedros was making life even more difficult for the Venezuelan people. 

"Many people use the ferries to come into Trinidad to shop for basic goods and then they return home. Since the vessels were banned, many people have been forced to take more risks by coming through the rougher waters or taking a chance to come in illegally," she added.

On Tuesday, the vessels Virgen de Valle from Guiria which carried 28 passengers, another vessel named Virgen de Valle from Tucupita carrying 30 passengers and Poseidon carrying 18 passengers failed to dock at the Cedros port.

Even though the vessels had clearance to leave Venezuela, the source said brokers advised them that they had no clearance to come to Trinidad.

Minister of National Security, Stuart Young said the Cedros Port is fully staffed and open for business.

He said the TT Coast Guard patrols are intercepting boats with migrants from Venezuela. Young said the government had taken a decision to secure maritime borders. 

- by Radhica De Silva

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