Curacao search for shipwrecked Venezuelan migrants

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Curacao search for shipwrecked Venezuelan migrants

Authors: TheIndianSubcontinent News Agency

Curacao search for shipwrecked Venezuelan migrants Image copyright Image caption Police say they recovered the bodies of two men and two women

Police on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao are searching for a group of 30 illegal migrants after their boat sank during a sea crossing from Venezuela.

Four Venezuelans are known to have died when the overloaded craft hit rocks.

Curacao's coastguard have reported a growing number of vessels making the dangerous journey from Venezuela which is mired in a severe economic crisis.

President Nicolas Maduro cut transport links to Dutch Caribbean territories last week to prevent smuggling.

Police say they recovered the bodies of two women and two men.

Image copyright Image caption Police have been looking for belongings and evidence near where four bodies were found

The boat was reported to have been carrying around 30 people when it left La Vela de Coro in Venezuela's north-western Falcon state.

A local politician said the passengers were all under 35 years old, and some of them were children.

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The boat had been overloaded when it hit rocks not far from the coast after its precarious 128km (80-mile) journey from Venezuela, according a relative of a survivor quoted by .

The economic crisis in oil-rich Venezuela has been pushing the poorest to make dangerous journeys in search of work and a future.

Until recently Venezuelans routinely travelled to the more prosperous Curacao and Aruba in search of work or staple products that are unavailable back home.

But Aruba and Curacao have been making efforts to try to stem the increasing flow of illegal migrants into their territories with more patrols, mass arrests and deportations.

Last week Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, ordered a halt to all air and sea travel to the islands of Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba, in order to prevent smuggling of Venezuelan goods by what he called "mafias."