THERE were more than 70 workers on the offshore oil platform when it was approached by the Venezuelan military police, La Guardia Nacional, in the Gulf of Paria on Wednesday.
This is according to Neil McCartney, rig manager at Well Services Petroleum Company, the company that owns the rig which is contracted by State-owned Petrotrin.
McCartney said the Venezuelans never boarded the rig, but came alongside to verify that its territorial border was not being crossed.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine had told the Express on Wednesday that "after spending some time on the rig they (the Guardia Nacional) then left.." McCartney said the officers spoke with the rig supervisor and left.
He said workers did not feel threatened or unsafe during the incident.
"There was no threat or anything to us as far as we are concerned, it was just an enquiry," he said.
On Wednesday, Ramnarine said that the Venezuelans had stopped operations at the rig, which was operating in the South West Soldado field within the Trinmar acreage, in local waters, but close to the Venezuelan border.
He said the relevant authorities were called in to investigate the matter, including the Coast Guard, Chief of Defence Staff Kenrick Maharaj, Petrotrin and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs among others.
Ramnarine was out of the country yesterday and could not be contacted.
Petrotrin also issued a statement on the incident, assuring that security arrangements were in place to safeguard employees.
However, Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget told the Express that the union was not satisfied with the level of security on the offshore platforms.
McCartney said there were no security guards on the rig, "but the workers have not complained about that".
Coast Guard public relations officer Kirk Jean-Baptiste said the Venezuelan coast guard was conducting routine checks when they stopped alongside the Trinidad rig.
"The Venezuelans believed the Trinidad rig tender was in their waters, but after checking the charts they moved on. They did not board the rig, but because there is no fence line it is easy to perceive the rig was in Venezuelan waters. These things happen," he said.
Jean-Baptiste said the incident will not affect the relationship between Trinidad and Venezuela.