Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne.

The issue of illegal crossings from Venezuela to T&T and the follow-up visit by T&T experts to the Nabarima oil tanker were raised yesterday by Government with Venezuelan Ambassador Carlos Amador Perez Silva.

This was confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister Amery Browne last night following a courtesy call by Silva to Browne’s ministry.

Browne said it was a previously scheduled visit.

“I did use the opportunity to raise with the ambassador a range of current issues, including the illegal crossings from Venezuela and the necessary follow-up regarding the floating storage vessel Nabarima,” Browne told Guardian Media.

Illegal crossings have been spotlighted recently after the illegal entry of a group of 29 Venezuelans, including minors. This has led to a series of court matters.

Meanwhile, the follow-up visit to the Nabarima issue has been hanging fire since November 20.

A T&T team of experts had visited the vessel on October 20 to inspect it after local and international reports that it had listed to the side and was leaking in July and August. The vessel, carrying 1.3 million barrels of oil, is operated by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, which stated it was repaired. Oil was being transferred from the vessel then.

The T&T team had found the vessel upright and in no danger of sinking – but recommended a follow-up visit a month later. T&T had sought approval from Venezuela for the follow-up but this wasn’t obtained up to last week. Fishermen and Friends of the Sea has also called for the visit to be done.

Meanwhile, the ministry said it’s anticipating a formal response from the National Security Ministry for the proposed virtual meeting with Venezuelan Internal Security Affairs officials. Venezuela last week presented a request for the meeting through Browne’s ministry,

National Security Minister Stuart Young said it’s a continuation of a previous meeting held several months ago with the same Venezuelan authorities on security, human mobility and the fight against crime and drug trafficking.