More than 30 young Venezuelans are feared to have drowned while making the crossing to Trinidad after the fishing vessel carrying them capsized in rough seas five kilometres from the Venezuelan coast. The Venezuelan and Trinidadian coastguards rescued nine survivors.
People trafficking has been a growing problem across the seven-kilometre-plus stretch of water separating Venezuela from the Caribbean island. The United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) and the Trinidadian government estimate that 10,000 Venezuelans have registered as asylum-seekers in Trinidad.
Meanwhile, in the English Channel, government vessels and volunteer lifeboats rescued 36 people from three small boats attempting to cross from France into England. In one incident, the Border Force intercepted a small boat with 11 men. In the second incident, a RNLI lifeboat found 15 people on a small boat off the Kent coast. A Home Office coastal patrol vessel later found 10 people on board a small boat. The people rescued had medical assessments and were handed over to immigration officials.
At least 250 people were intercepted attempting to cross the Channel between January and November 2018. Since the UK introduced a tougher policy in December 2018, more than 20 people who arrived illegally in small boats have been returned to Europe.