Story By: Juan Fenandez Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
This is the moment two shipwrecked sailors in Aruba find their stranded vessel ransacked and burned to the ground leaving them with “no resources whatsoever” during COVID-19 lockdown.
Argentine sailors Ramiro Catriel and Martin Mauri set sail from the Caribbean island of Aruba on their boat ‘Aquarelle’ on 13th March on their way to Panama.
However, they encountered engine problems early into the journey and decided to sail to the nearest port in Colombia the following day.
Despite reporting mechanical issues, they were turned away by the Colombian Coast Guard as all maritime borders had been closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The boat eventually run aground on a beach in the Colombian city of Barranquilla where the pair remained stranded for several hours before they were rescued.
They were taken to the north of the city to undergo a virus test, which later came back negative, before then looking for an apartment where they could stay during the lockdown.
However, they told local media that “nobody wanted to help us anywhere and when they looked at us, they did so with contempt” out of fears they could be infected.
Colombia has been on lockdown since 24th March after several cases of the virus were reported.
The pair said that they called the Argentine Embassy, but were not offered any assistance.
They eventually found an apartment, but were kicked out hours later and forced to sleep on the street outside of the building.
Catriel said: “It was late at night when they decided to kick us out for being “foreigners”, leaving our belongings inside the property.
“We had to sleep on the street on top of some cardboard and wait until dawn to get our belongings back.”
They eventually settled in another room and returned to their boat several days later to retrieve their belongings only to find it had been burned to the ground.
The video shows the moment one of the sailors stands on top of the grounded vessel as the other films while waiting to be rescued by the authorities.
In the second video, Catriel shows the remains his boat after it was burned to the ground and he walks around it in disbelief.
Catriel told Newsflash: “I am a good person, a professional political scientist and sea captain with a bohemian spirit, the one that took me to many countries and places around the world.
“I never thought I would experience something this dramatic, far away from my loved ones, with no help from my country (Argentina), having lost almost everything.”
The sailors remain stranded in Colombia and “appealed to the humanity in people after losing everything” and asked for “collaboration and help” as they “have to spend quarantine with no resources whatsoever”.
Catriel and Mauri have made their emails and bank details public in the hope that netizens will offer financial assistance.
Despite the difficult situation, Catriel says he has “the firm belief that we will come out of this and continue our journey”.
According to the latest figures by the Johns Hopkins University, Colombia has reported 1,161 cases of COVID-19 leading to 19 related deaths.
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