Search continues for three men missing at sea |18 November 2023
Search and rescue operation is ongoing for three men on board a small fishing boat declared as missing since November 15, 2023.
Yesterday morning the authorities involved in the search and rescue operation namely, the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) in collaboration with the Seychelles Police, the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA) and the National Information Sharing and Coordination Centre (NISCC) held a press conference at the SMSA headquarters, at Trinity House, to give an update on the operation.
‘Gran Pye’, a white coloured fibreglass boat with a small yellow cabin, with registered number SZ88801, left Anse Forbans around 10am on Wednesday, November 15, for a fishing trip in the region of Pointe Capucin in south Mahé. All three men in their thirties are residents of Takamaka. They are not registered fishermen and they normally do the daily fishing trip as a hobby.
Major Hans Radegonde, director operations at SCG, said they received a call from a member of the public in the Anse Forbans region at around 6.39am on Thursday, regarding the small fishing boat that had not returned from its fishing trip.
They immediately responded by deploying a fast response boat in the Pointe Capucin region and another smaller vessel from 8 to 10 miles away from the coastline in the area. They also involved assets from the Seychelles Air Force, which could only start around 2pm on Thursday, because of poor visibility as a result of bad weather.
Major Radegonde noted that despite the heavy rain the search continued until late into the night.
Their search went up to the areas near Coetivy Island where the airplane came upon another fishing boat, ‘St Joseph’, which was also in distress. The vessel was referred to the patrol ship, Topaz, for assistance, which had also joined in the search and rescue operation of ‘Gran Pye’.
According to Major Radegonde, other than the south Mahé and Coetivy island areas, the search will also take place in the south east and south west regions.
Although search and rescue operations are held over three days, Major Radegonde said the search for ‘Gran Pye’ is ongoing until something positive comes out of it. The Seychelles Coast Guard has through their Maritime Operation Centre, contacted and alerted other vessels in the vicinity for the boat, given that it could be drifting in any direction, as a result of changes in current.
Also present at yesterday’s press conference were the chief executive of SMSA, Captain Daniel Adam; Marcus Jean, Assistant Superintendent, who is head of service delivery; and Dominic Savy, deputy director NISCC.
Assistant Superintendent Jean said the police have launched an investigation and they are collecting information and evidence.
Mr Savy, a resident of Takamaka and also a neighbour of the three missing men, said he personally received a call after 6am on Thursday morning, regarding the incident and immediately informed the authority. He added that a search and rescue operation was mounted by fishermen and other boat owners in the district.
According to Mr Savy they had earlier received report from a fisherman from Baie Lazare who had spotted the men at a location in the Pointe Capucin area. However, a search at the exact location yielded nothing.
It should be noted that ‘Gran Pye’ is not equipped with a radio and attempts to contact the men on their mobile were futile.
For his part, Captain Adam said that SMSA is liaising closely with SCG, NISCC and the police to provide the necessary support to facilitate the search and rescue, based on safety regulations in place.