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Sunken vessel: 8 still unaccounted for as rescue efforts end

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
Fishing vessel accident: Search party abandons rescue mission; 8 persons unaccounted for
Fishing vessel accident: Search party abandons rescue mission; 8 persons unaccounted for

Seventy-two hours since the fishing vessel,  MV Comforter II sank 46 nautical miles south of Saltpond in the Central Region, it has been established that eight persons remain unaccounted for.

Meanwhile the search for missing persons, including a fishing observer from the Fisheries Commission whose identity has been withheld, has ended.

It has also been established that a total of 24 persons were on board the MV Comforter II.

As of now, 15 people have been rescued. One person was found dead floating in the sea and has been identified as the captain of the vessel, a Chinese national named Cai Yuanqu, 62.

Those rescued are 12 Ghanaians and three Chinese nationals.

The accident happened on Friday [May 6, 2022] but the Ghana Navy got wind of it on Saturday dawn [May 7, 2022] and joined the search party.

Enoch Tetteh Opata, the Public Relations Officer from the 2 Garrison of the the Ghana Navy confirmed that the search has been abandoned.

"Well the latest is that we still have not gotten hold of the eight that have gone missing as a result of the sinking of the vessel," he said in a radio interview on Accra based Citi FM, monitored by Graphic Online.

"The unaccounted for bodies are seven Ghanaians and one Chinese [national], making eight in all," he said.

"Apart from those rescued, the eight remaining have still not been found," and Opata said there was no hope that the eight will still be alive.

"We still have our ears on the ground and we are monitoring to see where they will be washed, if they will be washed ashore, then we take the necessary steps," he added

Bumper harvest

According to the survivors, they actually had a bumper harvest, so they were trying to haul the net and in doing that, the vessel lifted.

They prompted the captain about the situation, but he [captain] insisted that they continue to haul the net and in doing so, it lifted further and eventually, the vessel capsized.

"It [catch] was heavy and so due to the high wind also, it caused the boat to lift."

The vessel did not stay afloat and went down further below.

It is also suspected that high tides and the strong winds may have also played a role.

The Ghana Navy said when they got to the spot where the accident occurred, there were no traces of any debris and so it was quite difficult for the team to even get to the location where it actually happened but the Western Naval Command team managed to get some people out.

Read also: Fishing vessel sinks, Captain’s body found

Opata said when it initially happened, two of the survivors were swept by the waves and got rescued by some people and they led the team to the location of the incident.

"Some of them too were able to swim to a nearby vessel, there were about three Chinese vessels that were nearby so some managed to swim, so those vessels with the support of the Western Naval Command of the Ghana Navy managed to rescue them," he added.

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