Passport hitch the hold-up
The two fishermen stranded in Venezuela will be there a little bit longer. Kurt Watson and Michael Hawkesworth, who ran aground in Venezuelan waters almost four weeks ago, are ready to head home, but there is a slight hitch since Watson has his passport but Hawkesworth has only his identification card, said Randolph Blackman, caretaker of the affected vessel Pearlita.
Hawkesworth’s adoptive sister Marlene Haynes said yesterday the family was contacted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is lending assistance. She said the official asked for Hawkesworth’s birth certificate, which she and sister June are trying to locate.
Operations officer of the Coast Guard, Sub Lieutenant Alexander Kellman, said the fishermen are in a medical facility in Los Roques. He added that the Coast Guard has sent emails to the Venezuelan authorities but there was no response up to press time yesterday.
He made the point, however, that the matter is in the hands of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs now that the issue of safety at sea has abated.
Watson and Hawkesworth left for a fishing trip on March 26 and encountered difficulties about a week later, and they sent out a call for help. They were eventually rescued by the Venezuelan Coast Guard on Wednesday (April 18) and received medical attention in Venezuela. (KG)