Fears for Venezuelans missing in Caribbean shipwreck

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Trinidad and Tobago. the Gulf of Paria

View from a boat off Trinidad's north-west coast looking westwards across the Gulf of Paria towards Venezuela and the Bocas Islands between the two countries.  © Joshua Surtees

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply concerned about the fate of at least 21 Venezuelans missing after their boat sank this week en route from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago.

This tragic incident highlights the extreme risks of sea journeys and other irregular cross-border movements undertaken by refugees and migrants. It also underscores the desperation of those forced to flee their homes and the extraordinary difficulties faced on their journey.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, a vessel called “Jhonnaly Jose” carrying at least 25 people from the Venezuelan town of Güiria towards Trinidad and Tobago capsized in the early hours of Wednesday April 24.

The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard said four people had been rescued in a joint search and rescue effort with their Venezuelan counterparts, although other reports suggest a total of nine people have been saved. At least 21 people, among them women and children, are still unaccounted for and rescue efforts are continuing.

More than three million Venezuelan refugees and migrants have left their country since 2015, mostly to neighboring countries, including islands of the southern Caribbean.


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