Genesis Carrero Soto
Caracas, September 20 (EFE).- More than a hundred days have passed since the disappearance of the ships “Zoro Viejo” and “Santo Amaro II” in Venezuelan waters. Since then, the families of the nine missing crew members have faced the absence of an exclusive maritime search or rescue service in the country to support them.
The lack of a specialized agency with its own equipment forces search, tracking, rescue and recovery operations at sea in Venezuela to depend on the willingness of agencies that lend their human and technical resources to a task for which they are not fully equipped.
The Secretary General of the National Organization for Maritime Rescue and Safety of Aquatic Space (ONSA), Luis Guillermo Iniciarte, explained to IF that “Venezuela does not have a maritime search and rescue service established by law” but he assured that the authorities are currently in the process of activating a rescue team. Preparing for
However, those who are currently enjoying the drama of missing relatives at sea are not served by the promise of the future and say they feel “abandoned” in their search for loved ones.
Crews and families washed away
The worst affected are those who continue to search from land for relatives who were lost in the shipwreck, as in the case of Victor Rodriguez, who has been missing for five months since his uncle and three cousins disappeared on the “Old Fox” boat. which departed from Nueva Esparta (Northeast) on April 19 and lost contact 72 hours later.
“Unfortunately, Venezuelans don’t have that support,” Rodríguez told Ife of the authorities’ support in the investigation to find his relatives.
He confided that the search for his uncle and cousins was virtually non-existent and that they were “flooding”, as the authorities to whom they went for help complained that they lacked gasoline, aircraft or ships to carry out the task. Tracking operation.
However, he does not lose hope of finding these fishermen and prefers to think that “they are still working” and have not yet returned to the mainland.
The five people who worked on the boat “Santo Amaro II”, whose relatives were reported missing on May 14, have maintained the same illusion without establishing contact with the aquatic authorities since the 4th of that month when they left the state of Falcon. (Northwest).
Doris Vargas, the sister of the ship’s captain, condemned the search for the men after they had been missing for 42 days and asked the Venezuelan prosecutor’s office to investigate the case.
No appliances or repairs
Initiate, who is in charge of one of the few organizations dedicated to maritime rescue in Venezuela, assures that the problem goes beyond the lack of resources and specialized equipment for search operations, since “experienced” preparation and “almost non-existent seafarers”, referring to artisanal fishermen and boat pilots. .
“Usually shipwrecks end up in an unfortunate situation because the crew was not properly prepared,” emphasized Iniciarte, who added another common cause is the lack of communication equipment or tracking of fishing, sports, tourism or recreational marinas that come out of Venezuela. port
He recalls that Venezuelan waters and coasts are divided into 17 port captaincies controlled by the state through the National Institute of Aquatic Spaces (INEA), which is in charge of registering departures and voyages, but in practice it is difficult to carry out. Work due to lack of information and resources.
“We continue in a large sector of the national navy under the conditions of the last century and each of us, both users and crews and authorities, must take this step forward and then start carrying marine equipment and equipment. Safety is necessary and according to the rules of the 21st century,” said the expert. .
While relatives are keeping their hopes up, INEA is, for the first time, raising a registry of “supporting agencies” with the ability to support “as volunteers” in aquatic search and rescue operations.
Web Editing: Juan David Mosos