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UPDATE: Fishermen in Colombia cleared for return to Jamaica — Johnson Smith

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade says the 28 Jamaican fishermen who were rescued by the Colombian Coast Guard and taken to San Andres, following a fire on their vessel last Thursday, have been cleared to return home.

“The safe and earliest possible return of the men is the immediate concern of the Government of Jamaica. We are working with the Colombian authorities to arrange for their safe return. We hope this will happen over the weekend,” portfolio minister Kamina Johnson Smith said in a release today.

Johnson Smith explained that the verification process has now been completed, so all 28 are now cleared for repatriation to Jamaica, but regretfully, the individuals who were being treated for burns cannot be released from medical care until Friday at the earliest. Arrangements for everyone's return have to take that timing into consideration, Johnson Smith said.

The foreign minister also expressed appreciation to the Colombian authorities for rescuing the fishermen last Friday and seeing to their welfare since then.

“We have been working through our Charge d'Affaires at the Jamaican Embassy in Bogota and our Honorary Consul in San Andres, and they in turn worked with the Colombian authorities to provide the names of the men and other necessary information to assist with the process of the verification of their Jamaican nationality. This is in keeping with standard operating procedures,” Johnson Smith said.

Meanwhile, the release said the owner of the boat, who operates a commercial fishing company, is in contact with the foreign ministry and maintains daily contact with the fishermen and has been keeping their relatives informed.

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