Boat with missing fishermen lost; dive team now expanding search efforts
The MARAD diving team that was dispatched to locate three fishermen who are feared dead at sea has been unable to locate the vessel four days after it reportedly capsized in the Mahaica River.
On Tuesday, the team managed to locate the crew’s fishing net but finding the fishermen appears to be a difficult task and the families remain in turmoil.
Captain John Flores, who has been tasked with leading the investigation into the incident, told the News Room on Wednesday that the team finally removed the fishing net but it was not hooked onto the missing boat.
“The seine was just hooked onto something at the bottom,” Captain Flores said.
He added, “They did not find any boat in that area.”
Flores explained that the authorities have to expand their search efforts since they were only searching in that particular area.
Before these search efforts can be expanded, however, repairs to the search vessel may be needed. Captain Flores explained that MARAD’s search vessel- the only one in Guyana with equipment that can scan the seafloor- has been damaged due to the “rough” nature of the water.
Efforts will be made to borrow a vessel from a foreign company operating offshore Guyana but Flores said that the rescue team may be unable to continue their search on Thursday without a vessel.
This team was mobilised by the Ministry of Public Works on Sunday but there has been no sight of the men.
Three fishermen- Captain Harold Damon, Winston Sam and Ronald Burton- have been missing since Saturday last when the Noble House Seafoods trawler they were travelling on reportedly sank near in the Mahaica River, offshore Guyana.
The trio alongside another seaman, Vincent Dazzell, were working aboard the vessel. Dazzell was rescued by another vessel but the others were not so lucky.
Dazzell reportedly told authorities that the incident occurred about 26 miles from the Mahaica river.
Government officials have lamented that the company did not report the vessel was in distress and as such, assistance was not immediately mobilised.
Consequently, a multi-agency Board of Inquiry has been set up to investigate the incident. Expected distress signals, MARAD’s Director-General Stephen Thomas said, were not issued either.