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Boat with bodies found by Nicaragua not the same vessel spotted in Guyana’s waters – Benn

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn says the boat with roughly six decomposed bodies found by Nicaraguan authorities is not the same vessel which was spotted in Guyana’s waters last month.

“I don’t know if it passed through Guyana’s waters sometime, but it is not the same boat. It is almost similar in construction, a bit different. But it’s not the same boat,” the Home Affairs Minister told INews when contacted on the matter.

Nicaraguan authorities have found a boat with decomposed bodies drifting off the Caribbean coast. It was highly suspected that this is the same vessel which local authorities had discovered adrift in Guyana’s waters on February 15.

Nicaragua’s interior Ministry said a Republic of Guinea passport belonging to a 31-year-old man was found on one of the six bodies discovered in the boat which was adrift off the Caribbean Coast.

The passport had no Nicaraguan entry stamp in it.

They said the boat was found drifting about a mile (1 1/2 kilometers) out to sea on Monday, near Cayo Las Palomas.

The corpses were all too badly decomposed for immediate identification.

The country’s officials have said an initial examination indicates all those aboard apparently died of dehydration or heatstroke.

It also suggests that the persons might have died about a month ago.

Based on reports migrants seeking to reach the United States have been trapped at Nicaragua’s southern border with Costa Rica, because the Nicaraguan government won’t allow them to cross Nicaragua.

That led some to choose more dangerous water routes.

On February 15, Guyana’s Maritime Administration had received information that a small boat, with supposedly lifeless bodies onboard was drifting at sea, approximately 112 nautical miles from Georgetown.

Following the discovery, several efforts were being made to bring the boat to shore, however those were unsuccessful.

The boat eventually disappeared, causing local authorities to alert international partners to be on the lookout for the vessel.

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Edghill says bodies boat found by Nicaragua likely the same one seen in Guyana’s waters

March 4 ,2020

Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill says it is “highly probable” that the boat containing bodies which was found in Nicaraguan waters on Monday is the same which local authorities lost sight of after it was discovered floating offshore Guyana more than two weeks ago.

“It is highly probable that it is the same boat. We have every reason to believe it is the same boat,” Edghill told Stabroek News in an invited comment yesterday.

According to Edghill, authorities here have not been able to engage their counterparts in Nicaragua as yet to be provided with details.

Juan Edghill

He said while effort are ongoing to have an engagement, it is suspected that it is the same boat.

Edghill explained that details about the two discoveries are very similar. “The time it is suspected since they were decomposed, the number of bodies and the description of the boat are all similar,” he noted.

If the vessel is not the one which disappeared from Guyana, Edghill said “then we have a worrying situation of bodies drifting in the Caribbean”.

An unmarked boat, which contained a number of decomposed bodies was found floating about 120 km offshore Georgetown on the afternoon on February 15th.

Following the discovery, an inter-agency task force comprising members of the Guyana Defence Force coast guard and the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) was established to conduct investigations.

It was initially stated that efforts were being made to have the boat towed to shore.

However, during an emergency press conference the following night, Edghill had reported that the authorities had lost sight of the boat.

With the unfavourable weather patterns at sea, he had said that it is unclear what has happened. He pointed out that the boat could have sunk or drifted in another direction.

The Ministry in a press statement had subsequently said that officials in Guyana had contacted their counterpart in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) to be on the lookout for the boat. The statement had said that it is possible that the boat might have drifted towards T&T due to the direction of the ocean current.

Emails were also sent to several sister organisations seeking their assistance in identifying the boat and the remains of those on board, the statement noted.

Edghill said Nicaragua was one of the countries which was alerted to be on the lookout for the vessel. “It is no surprise that the boat has shown up just off the coast of Nicaragua,” he said.

Earlier this week, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Nicaraguan authorities found the bodies of six people, apparently migrants, in a small boat drifting off its Caribbean coast.

The Interior Ministry said a Republic of Guinea passport belonging to a 31-year-old man was found on one of the bodies. The passport had no Nicara-guan entry stamp in it.

AP said that the boat was found drifting about a mile (1 1/2 kilometers) out to sea on Monday near Cayo Las Palomas.

The ministry said an initial examination indicated all those aboard apparently died of dehydration or heatstroke, and that they probably died about a month ago.

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