The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for a lone shrimp fisherman, claiming his survival was unlikely due to the rough weather and water conditions. The fisherman had decided to go fishing all by himself. Authorities who conducted a search and rescue operation claimed they are unsure of his survival.
The Coast Guard suspended the search for Ba Van Nguyen, who went missing in the Houston Ship Channel near Eagle Point on Friday. However, after receiving reports about the missing person, authorities spent the entire Saturday searching for the 49-year-old shrimp fisherman, who had ventured out to sea all by himself. While his boat and his vehicle have been recovered, there are no signs of Nguyen.
SAD UPDATE: Coast Guard has ended its search for shrimper Ba Van Nguyen. It is believed he fell off his boat. pic.twitter.com/SbtbP43NxW
— Tim Wetzel (@KHOUTim) March 27, 2016
Nguyen’s disappearance was noticed after another seafaring vessel witnessed a bizarre scene out at sea. The vessel reported they saw a small shrimp fishing boat spinning in circles near marker 53 with no one aboard. The vessel, identified as the Regina Pacis, clearly had no one manning or maneuvering it and seemed powered but adrift. The reporting vessel called in about the strange sighting at around 6:52 p.m., reported ABC News.
The 54-foot shrimp boat isn’t very large, but it is big enough for a medium size haul.
Speaking about her missing father, Nguyen’s daughter Judy Nguyen said, “We found his boat and his car, but he’s nowhere to be found. He’s a hard worker. He’s always given us everything we needed.”
She added that Ba Van Nguyen was an experienced sailor and fisherman and had been fishing for 25 years. However, owing to his steadily advancing age, he did not go fishing as much or as often as he used to. Moreover, the fisherman did have a small crew, but owing to his infrequent visits to the sea, it is likely the crew left.
She added, “He’s been fishing for 25 years. He used to have a crew, like a deck-man. But he doesn’t work as often as he used to. He works a few times a week, so he’ll go alone.”
Family members of the fisherman mentioned Ba Van Nguyen left San Leon around 5 a.m. on Friday. Since it is difficult to conduct a proper fishing expedition at his age, Nguyen was expected to be back for lunch. His continued absence did not cause panic, but the reports about a shrimp boat spinning in the seas sure did.
Missing shrimper Ba Van Nguyen. His shrimp boat was found going in circles yesterday. He's been missing since. pic.twitter.com/IWFh4QhpOY
— Foti Kallergis (@FotiKallergis) March 26, 2016
After they received the reports about a boat randomly going around in circles, the Coast Guard deployed six teams to conduct a search. By Saturday afternoon, the teams had searched more 270 miles but later decided to suspend the search. Initially, they had focused their search to the northwest after observing the current and its orientation but have decided to abandon their efforts, claiming the fisherman may not survive the rough seas. The Coast Guard feels Nguyen could have fallen overboard and may have drowned due to the strong current supposedly prevalent during the time.
— Sofia Ojeda (@KPRCSofiaOjeda) March 28, 2016
Speaking about the rescue efforts, Lt. Melissa K. McCafferty, Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston command duty officer, said, “Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Ba Van Nguyen. Our hearts are with them in this troubling time. On behalf of the Coast Guard, we would like to extend a special thank you to the other agencies and volunteers for their support in the search effort.”
The missing fisherman’s family is devastated that the U.S. Coast Guard would abandon the search. The search lasted for 25 hours, reported the Chron. While it seems while the Coast Guard has given up hope, the family of the missing fisherman hasn’t. The family has even set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds toward the “continuing search efforts for him via Equusearch Texas.”
[Photo by Marcos Moreno/Getty Images]