Claxton Bay fisherman dead in attack at sea

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Claxton Bay Fishing Association president Nicholson Seecharan speaks with media on Friday at the Claxton Bay fishing facility about the death of fisherman Lennox Joefield whose body was found at sea on Thursday evening. – Marvin Hamilton

A pirate attack at sea between Wednesday night and Thursday has left a fisherman dead, and his colleagues and friends are calling on the authorities to beef up security measures.

Lennox “Knox” Joefield’s body was fished out of the Gulf of Paria near Marabella on Thursday night and brought ashore at the Claxton Bay fishing depot, where he had lived for the past few years.

Claxton Bay Fishing association president Necolson Seecharan believed that Joefield, who was in his 50s, was attacked and thrown overboard.

Joefield left the depot on Wednesday night to go fishing. Fishermen were told the boat had been spotted in San Fernando with the engine, worth over $20,000, and net missing.

Fisherman Sean Johnson reacts to the death of his fishing partner Lennox Joefield at the Claxton Bay Fishing Facility on Friday. – Marvin Hamilton

Fishermen began searching for Joefield, and at around 5 pm, they found his body tangled in a net near Paria Trading Jetty.

Seecharan said Joefield was originally from Piparo, lived in Marabella for a few years, relocated to Claxton Bay, and slept at the depot.

On Friday, fisherman Sean Johnson wept at the depot, saying he had lost his best friend.

“We went San Fernando Boys’ RC together. He did not have a bad bone in his body. He would give his last to anyone. I feel as if part of me is gone. He was a true friend.

“They (pirates) touched everyone in Claxton Bay. They bring tears to everyone.”

Carli Bay Fishing Association president Imtiaz Khan, as well as corporate secretary of the NGO Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) Gary Aboud, joined fishermen at the depot and complained about the lack of protection at sea.

Fisherman Sean Johnson speaks to Newsday about the death of his fishing partner Lennox Joefield at the Claxton Bay Fishing Facility on Friday. – Marvin Hamilton

Aboud proposed that the Government set up a multi-stakeholder committee/a national security oceanic committee to address the fishermen’s woes.

That committee, he said, should include the Fisheries Division, the Coast Guard, the police, the regiment, the Ministry of National Security, and “perhaps the permanent secretary.”

Speaking on behalf of the disgruntled fishermen, Aboud said, “We are asking the Government to consider that we should be appointed honorary wardens. We should have some direct link to the senior members of national security. Wardens could report illegality, risks, hotspots, and smuggling areas.”

He said piracy is growing, and the Gulf of Paria is a hotspot. For that reason, stakeholders should increase their presence compared to other areas.

“That committee could dictate and direct the use of resources, the concerns of threats on the sea and could have a direct mechanism for reporting the reports of the honorary security wardens,” Aboud said.

“We have advised that our fishermen should arm themselves, I am told to say legally armed. A spear gun is a legal weapon. “

He believes fishermen need to be prepared and ready to flee any vessel approaching within 300 metres, and coming within such proximity should be considered an act of violation.

He made several allegations against the Prime Minister, government ministers, and the Venezuelan military, saying he had proof to back his claims.

Investigations are ongoing.