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Thursday 22 August 2019
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[UPDATED] 7 LOST AT SEA

2 arrested after piracy attack in Carli Bay

Hemraj Alex Sooknanan
Hemraj Alex Sooknanan

WHEN news broke early yesterday morning that pirates attacked a group of fishermen, threw them overboard and stole their boat engines in the Gulf of Paria near Orange Valley, frantic villagers headed to the sea unsure if the attackers were still there.

Boat owners joined with friends and relatives and searched as far as Cedros near Venezuela waters hoping to rescue the wounded and stranded fishermen.

But up to press time, and despite the desperate attempts to find the men, at least seven fishermen from the Orange Valley and Carli Bay communities remained missing.

They are Shiva “Aries” Ramdeo, 27; Anand Rampersad, Alex Sooknanan, 18, Jason Baptiste, 30, Leslie De Boulet, Justin Kissoon, 19, and his cousin Brandon “Curry” Kissoon, 21. Except for De Boulet, the men live at Orange Valley.

Three men —Robbie “Bope” Jaggernath, Brian “Lizard” Seemungal and Danesh “Mindy” Sankar — survived the ordeal and were taken for medical care. Sankar, who lives at Carli Bay and is the owner of the boat Pigeon, was chopped.

MISSING: Brandon Kissoon.

Unconfirmed reports revealed that a fourth man, identified only as “Dougie” was also attacked and returned to shore.

Relatives of the missing men said the group went in different boats and met up where they fished in different areas. The boats left at about 3.30 pm on Monday and the fishermen took up strategic locations, as customary.

Ramdeo’s mother Nazeema Ramdeo, 49, appeared to be in a daze as each search crew returned to shore with no word of the missing men. On November 3 last year, Ramdeo had a similar experience when pirates beat him and two other fishermen and stole his engine before leaving the trio stranded on the boat.

The worried mother of two said: “People with a boat went and picked them up. After that incident, Shiva took two months off to decide what he was going to do. We bought back an engine for him and he returned to the sea.

Shiva Ramdeo

“For two weeks he was unable to eat anything solid. He was only taking in liquids through a straw.”

The family received the devastating news of the latest attack at daybreak yesterday when her husband went to meet the men at the beach because relatives found they were taking too long to return to their homes. When Ramdeo’s father reached, a boatman told him of the attack. Villagers recovered two of the six boats minus their engines.

Runa Ali, 39, Brandon’s mother and Justin Kissoon’s aunt, wept as she waited in hope for them to return to shore.

Ali said, “Brandon is a fisherman and Justin recently started to work. I consider (them) both my children. We live together.”

Justin Kissoon.

Villagers gathered at the Orange Valley fishing depot and one of the boat owners, Wallin Dookie, said he spent about $2,500 in fuel to go out searching.

“They are my friends. From about 7 am I went out and I have not eaten yet. Every morning after fishing we would light a fire and roast fish here. I could have been out there too missing.”

Another villager said, “One was badly beaten, stabbed and thrown overboard. We are getting conflicting reports because, initially, we heard three were rescued and taken to the Couva health centre. When we checked, that did not happen. We are hearing its seven missing, but we are not sure about the numbers.”

Jason Baptiste.

Police arrested two men at a house at Sea Lots yesterday and recovered six engines believed to have been stolen during the attack.

The Coast Guard was also assisting in the search.

Lobby group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has offered a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the culprits and the recovery of any of the missing vessels.

People with information can call the Coast Guard at 634-4440 or Couva police at 636-2333.

This story was originally published with the title "Fishermen missing after attack at sea" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.


PIRATES attacked a group of fishermen, threw them overboard and stole their boat engines in the Gulf of Paria near Orange Valley today.

Up to mid-morning, one survivor told villagers at least six men were still missing.

He said the missing men were badly beaten. One fisherman told Newsday three people survived the ordeal.

The four vessels left shore at about 11 pm yesterday and only one has been recovered.

"People will try to blame it on the Spanish (Venezuelans) but is Trinidadians who did this. The locals are stealing the outboard engines and selling them to Venezuelans," a fisherman claimed.

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the culprits and the recovery of any of the following missing vessels.

FFOS identified the missing vessels as TFCA 1099 ‘Bula’, TFCA 1238 ‘Sunshine’ and TFCA 2784 ‘Aaron’.

The organisation, via its Facebook page, is also calling on citizens to be on the lookout for suspicious activity on the coastlines.

People with information can call the Coast Guard at 634-4440 or Couva police at 636-2333.

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