A Mauritanian boat that washed up in Trinidad and Tobago in May contained 15 bodies that police are still trying to identify.
It is believed the deceased had been attempting to enter the Canary Islands illegally in order to get to Europe when the boat was blown off course.
According to reports, it may have been floating in the Atlantic Ocean for about two months before it was found drifting off the coast of Belle Garde in the Caribbean country.
Head of the Police Tobago Division, ACP William Nurse, who is one of those involved in the investigation and was part of the team which found the skeletal remains on the vessel, had in a news briefing in June, said, “the boat, according to our information, was believed to have been stolen and there is an investigation underway in that country.”
On Friday, while speaking about the going investigation and attempts to discover the identities of the 15, Nurse said “it was one of the most horrific experiences I have ever seen in my 38 years as a police officer.”
He wondered what they were trying to escape from? Where were they trying to go? What was their life before they left the country of their origin?
“The boat was a large boat with a very small Yamaha engine and very little fuel, so there was no way they could have made that journey based on where they started to where they wanted to go,” he added.
He says investigators have been able to collect some fingerprints and their cyber unit has gathered information from seven mobile phones found on the boat.
This information is being shared with officials in Mauritania as part of efforts to identify them.
He added that this was not an isolated incident – and he had heard of other lost boats crossing the Atlantic – one turning up in Turks and Caicos and another in Honduras.
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