The search for the remaining missing crew of the Spanish fishing vessel Villa de Pitanxo has been suspended. Photo: Halifax Coastguard SAR
The search for the remaining missing crew of the Spanish fishing vessel Villa de Pitanxo shipwrecked about 450 kilometres to the ESE of Nova Scotia has been suspended.
The 50-metre vessel sank on Tuesday morning (15 February) with only three survivors from the twenty-four cew onboard. Nine bodies have been recovered from the sea but twelve of the crew remain missing according to official reports from the Canadian Coastguard at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Two hours ago, the Spanish coastguard branch of Salvamento Martímo announced the suspension of the search saying, “The @hfxjrcc confirms the definitive suspension of the search at 450 km ESE Newfoundland. The boats that have rescued the 3 survivors and recovered 9 dead people are heading to the port of Saint John. It is scheduled to arrive tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on the Spanish mainland.
“The Spanish fishing boat Playa Menduiña Dos carries 3 people alive and 6 bodies; the Portuguese fishing vessel Franca Morte at 1 remains and the Canadian-flagged vessel Nexus at 2 reamins. Expected disembarkation in Saint John: day 18 at 11:00 a.m. Spanish time.”
The Coastguard at Halifax, Nova Scotia also announced the suspension of the search:
“Regrettably, at 4 pm AST, based on the results of the exhaustive search by a significant number of SAR aircraft and vessels over the last 36+ hours, a search covering over 900 sq NM, the search for the 12 missing fishers aboard the FV Villa de Pitanxo has been suspended.
“Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences go out to the families, friends and community of these individuals. The case will now be referred to law enforcement as a missing persons at sea case.”
Following a tragic sinking of Spanish fishing boat off the coast of Canada, the Chair of EP’s Committee on Fisheries Pierre Karleskind issued the following statement on Wednesday:
“On behalf of the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament, I would like to convey our most sincere condolences to the families of the fishers who died in the sinking of the Spanish vessel ‘Villa de Pitanxo’, based in Marín (Pontevedra/Galicia), while fishing yesterday in waters east of Newfoundland (Canada).
In these difficult times, I also convey our concern for the sailors who are still missing, whose rescue we are following with great concern but with the hope that it will be completed soon, and our solidarity with the Galician people, so closely linked to the fishing sector.
This tragedy highlights, once again, the harshness of fishing activity and the sacrifice and risk experienced by sea professionals.”
by Oliver McBride