Jan 18, 1979 • 1755 • Georgetown-State • 0267

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 1701 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was taken from https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE00267_e.html.]

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PAGE 01 GEORGE 00267 191214Z
ACTION OCS-06
INFO OCT-01 ARA-11 ISO-00 FBIE-00 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 MCT-02 CA-01 SY-05 L-03 SS-15 H-01 EB-08 HA-05 PA-01 /069 W ——————130465 191244Z /10

P R 181755Z JAN 79 FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8750
INFO AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 0267
E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CASC, TD, GY
SUBJ: POSSIBLE RETURN OF ALBATROSS III TO GEORGETOWN
REF: PORT OF SPAIN 00185.

1. AS INDICATED IN REFTEL THERE IS A STRONG POSSIBILITY THAT PEOPLES TEMPLE VESSEL ALBATROSS III MAY BE RETURNING TO GUYANA WITHIN THE NEXT WEEK.

2. BERNARD FERNANDES, REPRESENTING FERNANDES LIMITED, THE LOCAL AGENT FOR THE ALBATROSS III, CALLED ON AMBASSADOR JANUARY 15 TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY THAT THE VESSEL MIGHT BE SEIZED IF IT WERE TO RETURN TO GEORGETOWN. HE SAID THAT HE HAD ALREADY BEEN IN TOUCH WITH GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA OFFICIALS TO DETERMINE WHETHER THEY INTENDED TO EXERCISE ANY LEGAL CLAIM SHOULD IT RETURN, AND HAD BEEN INFORMED THAT BECAUSE OF ITS OFFSHORE REGISTRATION THE GOG WOULD NOT ATTEMPT TO SEIZE IT. FERNANDES INQUIRED AS TO WHAT ACTION IF ANY THE USG MIGHT INITIATE WERE THE VESSEL TO REAPPEAR IN GEORGETOWN.

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PAGE 02 GEORGE 00267 191214Z

3. AMBASSADOR AND MR. FORTUNE OF THE LEGAL ADVISER’S OFFICE INFORMED FERNANDES THAT WE COULD NOT PREDICT WHAT ACTION THE USG MIGHT CONTEMPLATE. IT WAS NOTED THAT NO APPARENT ATTEMPT HAD BEEN MADE EITHER IN PORT OF SPAIN OR IN BRIDGETOWN TO SEIZE THE VESSEL. HOWEVER, DESPITE OFFSHORE REGISTRATION AND OWNERSHIP OF THE ALBATROSS III, SOME LEGAL ACTION IN GUYANA COULD NOT BE ENTIRELY RULED OUT.

4. DURING THE COURSE OF THE INTERVIEW WITH FERNANDES HE PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION REGARDING THE ALBATROSS III: THE VESSEL IS IN GENERALLY GOOD REPAIR AND THOUGH IT IS A BIT SLOW IN COMPARISON WITH OTHER VESSELS OF ITS SIZE AND CLASS, IT IS AN ATTRACTIVE VESSEL FOR COASTAL TRADING IN THE CARIBBEAN. ITS ESTIMATED MARKET VALUE ACCORDING TO FERNANDES, IS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF 250,000 TO 300,000 GUYANESE DOLLARS (SOMEWHAT OVER US$100,00).

5. IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, IS THERE ANY POSSIBLE LEGAL ACTION WHICH WE MIGHT TAKE IN ORDER TO DETAIN THE ALBATROSS III SHOULD IT ARRIVE IN GEORGETOWN?

BURKE [JOHN BURKE, AMERICAN AMBASSADOR TO GUYANA]

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Originally posted on October 19th, 2020.

Last modified on July 17th, 2022.
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