A Venezuelan boat, carrying copper and scrap iron, was impounded for three days by Coast Guard officials on Thursday morning but was subsequently released without the cargo being offloaded.
The boat, with three Venezuelan men on board, left Guira on Wednesday at 11 pm for the Port of Spain docks. Global Brokerage Ltd of San Fernando, is agent for the boat as well as broker for the Trinidad importer who bought the copper and scrap iron from a Venezuelan dealer.
In a legal letter sent to the Coast Guard yesterday, the brokerage firm appealed for the boat named Yo Me La Creo, to be released on the basis that the crew and cargo were officially accounted for both in Venezuela and by Customs and Excise in TT. All duties and taxes were paid for the copper and scrap iron hence the departure of the boat for Trinidad.
Attorney Ejaaz Mohammed, acting on behalf of Global, sent a letter on Saturday to the Coast Guard, complaining that the boat was intercepted and escorted to Chaguaramas.
The crew members are Indriago Martinez, Reyes Garcia and Luis Eduardo Reyers Martinez. Mohammed said that the decision to detain the vessel and its crew members without just cause, amounts to an act of exercising powers outside the scope of the Coast Guard’s jurisdiction.
Since its detention on Thursday morning, Customs clerks from Global made several attempts to enquire from the Coast Guard, the reason for impounding the boat. They did so on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but to no avail.
Global said it attempted to seek several meetings with representatives of the Coast Guard but that too was unsuccessful.
Mohammed threatened in the letter to file an injunction to secure the release of the boat and its crew.
But contacted yesterday, a Coast Guard official said the boat was released yesterday, but it was escorted back to Venezuelan waters without offloading its cargo.