Approximately six (6) months after a drifting boat with 15 dead bodies was found in the territorial waters of neighbouring Tobago, local lawmen are faced with a similar situation after retrieving a blue and green vessel containing seven (7) partially decomposed adult male corpses from the waters just outside of Gun Point on the sister isle of Carriacou on Sunday.
THE NEW TODAY understands that a Petite Martinique fisherman, discovered the ‘floating grave’ of unidentified men around three (3) p.m., while making a trip to Carriacou, and alerted police officers there.
The boat was intercepted, and towed to Harvey Vale by the Grenada Coast Guard on Sunday night, and the bodies were removed on Monday morning by La Qua undertakers for transport to the mainland.
According to informed sources, preliminary investigations suggest that the deceased individuals may be Hispanic but speculation is also rife that the vessel may have originated from the shores of Guyana where a group of men has been declared missing since September.
Local police investigators have so far not been able to identify the nationality of the deceased men or the origin of the drifting vessel that was found in Carriacou’s territorial waters.
According to a press statement on Monday, “specialised units of the force (RGPF) are presently analysing personal effects, and devices found onboard the vessel, following which, a comprehensive update will be provided.”
Sources told THE NEW TODAY that police investigators have recovered “three (3) cell phones and a GPS tracker” from the unidentified vessel.
Head of the Community Relations Department (CRD) of RGPF, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Trevor Rodney confirmed to local media on Monday that the vessel is “not one that we would usually see within our areas,” and highlighted “what appears to be algae barnacles growing on the boat,” which he affirmed is an indication that “the boat has been in the water for some time.”
Similar gruesome and unusual discoveries have been made in other Caribbean territories during the first half of the year, with boats carrying almost mummified bodies, while others contained bodies that were already decomposed to the point where only bones remained.
According to a July 25 report on ‘The Virgin Islands Consortium,’ the first boat of hapless travellers was discovered just off the coast of Guyana in February, with an estimated five (5) to 10 deceased people, who were already in a severe state of decomposition.
However, the “blue and white” vessel had reportedly disappeared before the Guyanese authorities could retrieve it, and it is believed that it may have taken in water and sank shortly after being sighted.
Another boat was found just off the coast of Nicaragua in March, containing six (6) bodies that were in varying stages of decomposition.
Reports are that one (1) of the deceased carried a passport belonging to a 31-year-old man from the Republic of Guinea, which led regional authorities to Africa as a possible point of origin.
In April, a 17-year-old girl, and two (2) others, were rescued by the Spanish Air Force after spending an estimated 22 days out on the open water.
In an interview, the teenager told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that she departed her home in Mauritania, a country on the Atlantic coast of Africa, aboard a blue and white fishing boat in early April in the company of over 50 men, women, and children to seek a better life in the Spanish-speaking Canary Islands, which is located on the West African coast.
However, she said within days they ran out of food, water, and fuel, and the boat drifted off course into the Atlantic Ocean, and all other passengers had died before the Spanish Air Force engaged in the rescue mission on April 26.
In early May, another vessel was found in the Dutch Caribbean waters of Aruba, with nine (9) deceased individuals; however, recovery efforts failed when the rope that the coastguards there was using to tow the vessel broke causing the boat to drift back out into the sea and out of sight under the cover of darkness.
This vessel is also believed to have sunk and attempts to recover it were discontinued after a few days.
Later in May, another boat with a count of 14 bodies was successfully towed into a port off the Atlantic coast of Tobago, which has also been traced to Mauritania.
Apart from recovering seven (7) cell phones, Trinidadian authorities found that the boat was reported stolen in Mauritania, months before it was found on the Tobagonian coast.
Additionally, in June a group of 20 bodies were found on another vessel just off the coast of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) near Grand Turk Island. That vessel was also believed to have possibly originated from the West Coast of Africa.