HOPE remains that the 15 Honduran crew members from the missing Falling Star lobster fishing vessel could be on a 12-man raft and a 12-man skiff that were on the vessel when it disappeared in rough seas last Tuesday.
This was the optimistic view of Glenn Tuttle, co-manager of Boatwatch.org, an international network of resources to aid mariners that are missing or overdue, adding that they could be “floating around anywhere”.
The missing Hondurans have been identified as Sergio Green Castro, Domingo Peri Suazo, Dilson Omar Suazo, Geraldo Martinez, Jose Victor Calsido, Dayton Sabino Martinez, Geraldo Alvarez Castillo, Jose Marcelo Castro, Edson Alejandro Castillo, Jose Angel Suazo, Claudio Castro, Henry Morales, Leonidas Martinez, Lander Nuñez, and Victor Manuel Castillo, according to Boatwatch.org.
“I can't speculate [what has happened to them]. We like to believe there is always hope. They did have a life raft on-board that would hold about 12 people, and they did have a skiff that could hold about 12 people. It is quite possible they are in that skiff and that life raft is floating around out there somewhere. There is some hope,” Tuttle told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
“Everybody should be looking out for the life raft and skiff. The family of the missing people are trying to locate a company in Jamaica that can actually fly out there with a plane that can go out miles over the ocean and carry enough fuel to conduct a proper search,” he added.
Brian Jardim, Rainforest Seafoods principal, owners of the vessel, was also hopeful but concerned that there had been no news from the crew.
“An active search is still on and we'll remain positive,” he told the Jamaica Observer, his face a mask of concern. “We have six of our own vessels involved in the search.”
The lobster fishing vessel was reportedly returning from dry-docking/routine maintenance overseas when it ceased sending tracking signals on the afternoon of July 6.
The last location of the vessel up to the point of its disappearance was 30 miles west of the Pedro Banks.
Rainforest issued a statement late Saturday urging willing and able vessels to join the search party and for volunteers to contact their Kingston head offices.
The Jamaica Coast Guard, with help from counterparts from the United States, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands continue to search for the vessel.
Collaborated searches have so far produced no major sighting of the Falling Star.
“They are out there searching and we are talking to them on the radio every day and every night, and that's all we know. So far the only things that have been found were debris fields,” Tuttle said.
“They have found pieces of the sunken boat, like the life rig, that said the Fallen Star, and other parts of the boat that were parts of lobster traps and some rope,” Tuttle told the Observer.
Tuttle and his wife Eddie both run the international boat watch network, Boatwatch.org, which was founded in 2001 for the sharing of information regarding overdue and missing vessels throughout the world.
The duo are retired agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigations with a combined 49 years of service.
He is also an active member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, a licensed telecommunications operator, as well as a member of the SHAred RESources (SHARES) High Frequency (HF) Radio Program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, which transmits critical messages to coordinate emergency operations if traditional means of communication via landlines and cellphones are damaged or destroyed.