By Svetlana Marshall
The Coast Guard of the Guyana Defence Force has announced that it is intensifying its searches for the fishing vessel, “Aseyah One” and its 4-member crew.
It’s been over two weeks since the vessel and its crew have been reported missing.
In a statement this morning, the Coast Guard said the search operations have so far been concentrated within Guyana’s maritime space, adding that patrols have covered an extensive area with no sight of the vessel.
The Coast Guard has since alerted other Caribbean countries through the Regional Security System, to provide assistance in the search and rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the missing fishermen are still holding on to hope, and are calling for more assistance to be offered with the search and rescue efforts.
Today marks 20 days since the men – Hazrat Razack, Cicil Persaud, Vickram Singh and Worrin Yipsam – went missing.
Razack, Persaud and Singh are from the West Bank of Demerara (WBD) while Wipsam is from the East Bank of Demerara (EBD). They were last seen on November 16 when they ventured out to sea to render assistance to the crew of another fishing vessel that had dispatched a distress signal.
That vessel and its crew later made it to shore, but said they never saw or heard from the fishermen who are now missing.
The daughter of fisherman Hazratt Razack, Hazena Bahadur told News Source that while the GDF Coast Guard has been offering tremendous support, there has been complete silence from the Ministry of Agriculture and the rest of the government.
“I am still hopeful that my father, and the other fishermen are okay. We are hoping for the best and we are asking the government right now to help because we have been trying on our own and with the coast guard but it is not enough,” Bahadur told News Source.
Bahadur was among relatives and friends of the missing fishermen, who gathered at a pier in Sister’s Village, West Bank Demerara on Sunday to speak to News Source.
The hopeful daughter said she believes that with the help of the Government, additional resources could be dispatched to assist with the search efforts.
“If they could get assistance from the other country close by or if they could assist with a vessel so that we can get our own people to go out again, we have people willing to go out to search because we are not going to stop searching until we find them or we know something,” Bahadur said.
Already, the GDF Coast Guard has reached out to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard and other agencies for assistance.
Meanwhile, according to Dhanraj Persaud, who is the son of fisherman Cicil Persaud, he joined a number of the search efforts for his father and the other men, with no luck of finding them.
“We went with the coast guard boat several times, we went with the plane looking, and we ain’t see nothing. We ain’t know if these guys drifting in the sea but we are asking the Caribbean countries if they could help, we…look for them,” Persaud said.
Fighting back tears, the mother of fisherman Hazratt Razack, said her only wish is to have her son and the other men return home safely. The elderly woman, Parbatie Fred, is also the sister of Cicil Persaud who is one of the missing men.
“Dem a tell me dem a search and they can’t find them. So, me ain’t know where dem deh. They said they ah search every day, but me ain’t know where dem ah search..Me ain’t know nothing much but I want meh son fuh come home, me want them come home” Fred said.
Ms. Fred expressed concern that if the boat is still drifting, the men might be low on water and food, if they haven’t already run out of those.
Singh’s mother, Jocelyn Harris, said her only hope is that the men are alive.
“Dem a search and dem nah a find nothing. I does study my son night and day. He is the only one that does give me something. Me ain’t working nowhere…but I hope and pray he alive and nothing serious ain’t happen to them. The government must look into the matter because this man here [Persaud] ah do he best, all over he go looking for them, looking for them, them ain’t finding them. We only hope and pray they are alive,” Harris said.
To complement the assistance provided by the GDF Coast Guard, the concerned family members said they have hired boats in Trinidad and Venezuela to assist with the search efforts but those vessels were not able to venture out into the deep sea.
The family members said they will remain hopeful, even as time drifts by.