FOR years Guyanese fishermen have plied their noble trade unhindered along the Waini River, but this comfortable practice was obstructed recently when Venezuelan naval troops reportedly entered Guyana’s territory and apprehended two vessels, the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf, which are both owned and operated by Guyanese.
This act of ‘intrusion’ by Venezuela has since been condemned by local authorities, which have substantiated claims that both vessels, which were operating off the coast of the Waini Point, within Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), were intercepted by Venezuelan naval vessel, “Commandante Hugo Chavez GC 24”, on Thursday, January 21, 2021.
An exclusive economic zone, as prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is an area of the sea in which a sovereign State has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.
Guyana holds the firm view that the Venezuelan vessel was illegally manoeuvring within Guyana’s EEZ and contiguous zone when it intercepted, boarded and commandeered the Guyanese fishing vessels.
According to information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Captain Richard Ramnarine, of the Lady Nayera, and Captain Toney Garraway, of the Sea Wolf, after being apprehended in the Waini area, were instructed to chart a course to Port Güiria in Venezuela, where both vessels, which are registered in Essequibo, and the 12-member crew, who hail from Essequibo, have been detained.
The Guyana Chronicle was informed on Sunday that the crew members of the Sea Wolf include Garraway, Errol Gardener, Orland Roberts, Christopher Shaw, Shirvin Oneil and Randy Henry.
The crew members aboard the Lady Nayera are Ramnarine, Ramlakan Kamal, Nick Raghubar, Javin Boston, Michael Domingo and Joel Joseph.
From all indications, none of the crew members have been harmed, but details of their exact location in Venezuela are still unknown.
Headline photo caption: The Lady Nayera while it was docked in Guyana