PORT OF SPAIN – Tobago fisherman Rennie Richardson drifted for two days in the mighty Atlantic Ocean, travelling over 145 kilometres over two days, ending up in Grenada. Richardson, 31, of Plymouth, a tiny fishing village, said he survived on raw fish and rain water.
He was rescued by Grenadian fishermen last Tuesday after pastor George Alexander, a Grenadian national living in Tobago, contacted his relatives to help search for Richardson.
On Friday, scores of Plymouth fisherman, villagers and family members welcomed Richardson with cheers and applause on the very shore where he left on September 4. His journey back home was made on his pirogue aptly named Stamina.
“It was bad weather conditions, so when I was trying to come back home, I couldn’t make it as smooth, because I wasn’t seeing land and then I come and run out of gas. I feel happy to come back home safe and I want to thank the Grenadian people and especially pastor George for helping me.”
“They helped me out a lot. I want to thank the President of the fishing organisation, Dougie, and Mr Quashie,” he said.
Brimming with emotions, Richardson said he never lost hope that he would be found and used all the survival techniques he knew during the 48 hours lost at sea.
“I had to eat raw fish to survive and I drank rain water. At a time I say to myself, ‘I had to do what the best is, to save my life’ because there wasn’t nothing I could do again, but is God. I thank God too. I feel proud as a seaman that I made it back safe,” he said.
Richardson left the Plymouth beach last Sunday around 6 a.m. on a fishing expedition but when he failed to return around 6 p.m. that same day a search party went looking for him.
He was found by Grenadian fishermen two days later, floating in Grenadian waters. He was treated at hospital and processed by Grenadian authorities and escorted back home by two Tobago boats led by the All Tobago Fisherfolk Association.
Richardson has been fishing since he was 14 years old and has been described as a competent fisherman.