Authorities say weather was bad at sea, boat with bodies probably submerged




Guyanese authorities are continuing their search for a boat with about ten suspected decomposed bodies offshore Guyana.

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, during an emergency press conference today, said the government is concerned, saddened, and distressed about the matter.

The boat was first sighted on Monday at about 112 nautical miles off Guyana’s shore.

A crew from ExxonMobil had informed the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) of the situation.

The bodies were in a badly decomposed state but it was suspected that there were about five to ten persons.

MARAD had asked ExxonMobil to put a tow line and bring the boat to shore but the crew indicated that they had to seek permission.

By 15:00hrs, they received permission to tow the boat to the shore but their efforts proved unsuccessful.

The boat was last sighted at around 17:53hrs yesterday at approximately 83 miles off Guyana’s shore.

Authorities say the boat was drifting in a western direction.

Efforts were made to contact Suriname to inquire if they had any reports of a missing vessel and crew since no crew or boat was reported missing in Guyana. Suriname also indicated that no boats or crew were missing from there end.

In the meantime, two boats were deployed today to locate the vessel with the bodies.

At around 07:18hrs, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) deployed its first flight to help locate the drifting boat.

The flight returned at around 10:40hrs to refuel. A second flight departed at 12:05hrs and returned at around 14:15hrs. But no boat was spotted.

Additional, an ExxonMobil helicopter conducted surveillance to scope the area but the boat was not found.

A GDF Coast Guard team departed today at around 17:00hrs onboard a trawler to continue the search. They are expected to return tomorrow.

Authorities reported that the weather was bad out at sea. It was suspected that the boat might have submerged due to the inclement weather.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn says when/if authorities retrieve the vessel, the Guyana Police Force will take charge in investigating to determine the origin of the victims and the circumstances surrounding the situation.