The Trinidad and Tobago government Friday said it is in contact with Venezuelan authorities after three nationals were detained on Thursday and are due to appear in a court in the South American country “at a date and time still to be confirmed’.
The Ministry of National Security said that it wanted to assure citizens that the “incident appearing on social media allegedly involving Trinidad and Tobago nationals being chased by Venezuelans in the waters of Trinidad and Tobago is currently engaging its attention”.
It said that contact had been made with the Venezuelan Embassy and ‘the matter is currently being addressed”
According to the statement, the “latest information is that three Trinidad and Tobago nationals are in the custody of Venezuelan authorities and are due to appear in a Venezuelan court at a time and date still to be confirmed.
“Based on information received from the Venezuelan authorities thus far, several Trinidad and Tobago vessels were pursued by Venezuelan vessels, for fishing illegally in Venezuelan waters. The chase apparently encroached into the waters of Trinidad and Tobago.
“It should be noted that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, makes it illegal to enter the waters of a sovereign state without permission of that state. Further, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard maintains a steady presence on the South Coast of Trinidad as part of its routine operations,” the Ministry of National Security said.
It said that regarding the incident “the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard reported that during routine operations yesterday, two unidentified pirogues were observed crossing between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago waters.
“However, it appeared that when the chasing vessels observed the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard vessel, they retreated to Venezuelan waters. The Coast Guard vessel, in accordance with international law, did not pursue those vessels into Venezuelan waters.
“This matter will continue to be monitored by the Ministry of National Security with emphasis on the protection of our Trinidad and Tobago nationals in accordance with the law,” the Ministry of National Security noted.