The FV Villa de Pitanxo which has sunk 450km off Nova Scotia today.
A Spanish-registered fishing vessel, the Villa de Pitanxo has sunk 450km off Nova Scotia this morning with the majority of the 24-crew feared dead.
Spanish authorities have deployed a maritime and aerial device to rescue crew members of the 50-metre vessel which was based in Marín (Pontevedra), Spain.
According to the coordination centre at Salvamento Marítimo, a fishing boat, the Playa Menduiña Dos, which was near the scene of the emergency rescued three crew members alive and six bodies from a life raft. The conditions in the area are windy, rough seas and reduced visibility. The search for the missing continues with another body being recovered at around 6.00pm (GMT+1) this evening by the Portuguese fishing vessel Novo.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Halifax is coordinating the maritime and air rescue operation with the collaboration of Salvamento Marítimo, as it is a Spanish fishing vessel.
In a press release today from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said:
“The Government of Spain, through Maritime Salvage, is following the rescue tasks of the 24 crew members (16 Spaniards, 5 Peruvians and 3 Ghanaians) of the Villa de Pitanxo ship, with a base port in Marín (Pontevedra) that has shipwrecked some 450 kilometres east southeast of Newfoundland (Canada).
“Maritime Rescue, dependent on MITMA, through the National Rescue Coordination Center in Madrid and the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Halifax – the coordinating center responsible for the area where the shipwreck occurred – has mobilized two fishing boats, a rescue helicopter from Canada. One of the fishing boats has rescued three crew members alive from a life raft and has also located several bodies.
“At 5:24 a.m. this morning, the National Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (CNCS) in Madrid received two alerts from the Villa de Pitanxo fishing vessel. The alerts corresponded to the Villa de Pitanxo fishing vessel of 50 metres in length with 24 people on board and base port in Marín (Pontevedra).
“From the National Rescue Coordination Center of Madrid, from where assistance is provided to Spanish ships sailing in international waters, an attempt was made to contact the Villa de Pitanxo after receiving the alerts, without success, and two fishing vessels were simultaneously mobilized via satellite closest to the scene of the emergency. They were the Spanish fishing boat Playa Menduiña Dos and the Portuguese fishing boat Novo Virgem da Barca. Likewise, they were instructed to make radio calls to the Villa de Pitanxo fishing vessel.
“At 10:37 Spanish peninsular time (05:37 Halifax time) the Spanish trawler Playa de Menduiña Dos sighted life rafts in the water and many scattered objects. Upon approaching, he located three people on one of the rafts and several bodies. He continues the search with the Canadian SAR helicopter. A vessel mobilized by JRCC Halifax is also heading to the area.
“The conditions in the area are windy, rough seas and reduced visibility.”
Alert and location
The alert occurred more than 450 km from the nearest land, in the Canadian SAR zone, whose coordination corresponds to the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Halifax, which is a rescue coordination center operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Coast Guard.
EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius tweeted, “Seven sailors have lost their lives and fourteen are still missing fishing on a Galician ship in Canadian waters.
“I am deeply saddened by this terrible accident.
“I want to send my sincere condolences and solidarity to all their families.”
The European Fisheries Control Ageny tweeted, “Our thoughts go out to the victims of this tragic accident and their families, as well as to the rescue emergency teams who are working relentlessly on this case that sadly hits close to home.”
Spanish tuna fishing organisation, OPAGAC tweeted, “Dismayed by the sinking of the fishing boat Villa de Pitanxo in Newfoundland. From the Spanish tuna fleet, we convey all our support to the families of the crew members and to the shipping company Grupo Nores in these difficult times.”
Director-General of DG MARE, Charlina Vitcheva anoounced that, “We are liaising with Canada to follow the rescue operation closely. Our thoughts are with the family of the crew.
by Oliver McBride