Move to beef up sea patrols

Aftermath of LNG tanker robbery

Rhondor Dowlat

In a bid to curb sea robberies, Minister of Transport Stephen Cadiz assured that security measures will be soon put in place to secure the Gulf of Paria. Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday in a telephone interview, Cadiz said he intends to meet with the National Security Minister Gary Griffith on the issue. He was responding to questions raised concerning the robbery onboard the LPG tanker Virgo Gas, which took place on June 29.  

The Peruvian captain and his crew members were all viciously attacked. Some were beaten, chopped and tied up, while others were shot and wounded. They were rescued by the Coast Guard and taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital for treatment. Eight to ten men boarded the ship from three small fishing vessels. They were said to have been armed with machetes, knives, one pistol and pieces of wood.

The incident was reported in the T&T Guardian on July 1, but a story posted on the Web site on Monday went viral on Tuesday. That story erroneously reported the attack as having taken place on July 10. Cadiz said the ship had been anchored about two nautical miles off Port-of-Spain, in the Gulf. “It was anchored and waiting to pick up load. I am not sure as to its destination, but it was waiting when its crew was robbed,” he said.

“The matter is engaging the attention of the police, because it is a police matter. However, I am yet to receive an update as to the status of the investigations.” Marine Traffic received the ship’s last voyage information on Sunday at 12.02 am. Its destination was Point Lisas, where it was expected to arrive on July 18. It added that the last known port was Santo Domingo on September 28, 2013 at 3.56 pm.

Cadiz said, “What we have here in Trinidad is the act of robbery out at sea, not piracy. Robbery out at sea is a cause for great concern, although it is something that does not happen often. We are not going to take this lightly and we are moving swiftly to put things in place.” He added that the ministry was  also working closely with officials at the T&T Coast Guard.


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