Police suspect vessel in Port Kaituma was used for drug trafficking, transshipment – Benn

The semi-submersible vessel found at Port Kaituma

More than one week after a semi-submersible vessel was found along a river at Port Kaituma in Region One (Barima-Waini), Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn has noted that that vessel might have been linked to drug trafficking and possible transshipment activities.

According to the minister, while the police are still making every effort to ascertain the purpose for which the vessel was manufactured, the vessel remains in police custody as an exhibit for law enforcement and recognition by seafarers.

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn

On this note, a source told Guyana Times that the vessel may not be categorized as a semi-submersible vessel, since, from all indications, it was propelled by outboard engines. But Minister Benn, when questioned, held out that it is a semi-sub, and he said it is being transported to Georgetown for further examination.

The source also stated that while sand and water were found in the vessel, there is no firm evidence that it had transported drugs. “It may have transported drugs, but the boat is clean as a whistle, leaving no room for investigators to assume anything…,” the source has said.

On Thursday last, the minister stated that the Government intends to keep the vessel for other reasons.

“We intend to keep it in Guyana for other reasons,” Benn told reporters, adding that the vessel is currently being loaded onto a Transport and Harbours Department-owned vessel to be brought to Georgetown.

“We’re recovering it to bring it for more detailed examination, while the police detectives are trying to find out who is related to its construction and presence,” he explained.

Two Saturdays ago, the Guyana Police Force intercepted the vessel in Paiana Creek in Port Kaituma, North West District (NWD). Based on reports received, the police found the grey-coloured vessel covered in troolie leaves. In addition, a makeshift camp was found nearby.
The vessel was subsequently searched, and approximately 15 sandbags were discovered, along with about six cases of water. The vessel was escorted to the police base as investigations continued.

A few years ago, a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel was found in a secluded area in Region One.

The blue self-propelled semi-submersible was found by the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF) Special Forces, Coast Guard and Air Corps.
That was the first time an SPSS was found in Guyana, and that one had been built to trans-ship tonnes of narcotics/contraband smuggled into the country possibly for onward movement through the northwest coast onto the Trans-Atlantic route.

The craft had already been fitted with a diesel engine and steering wheel, navigation and other machinery to deem it serviceable.