Nicaragua: Multi-national search on for 13 missing fishermen

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(CMC) Several countries have joined in the search to find 13 fishermen who have gone missing off Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.

The last recorded signal from the vessel, Miss Johanna Betsey, was heard on June 29 when it departed the port city of Bluefields in Nicaragua.

The police report that the boat’s captain appeared to have been trying to get a head start on the official lobster season, which was not scheduled to begin until July 1.

However, the day after the boat departed, weather conditions worsened and officials prohibited boats from leaving port until further notice.

The vessel was first reported as missing on July 3 and Nicaraguan naval and army forces began a search south of Bluefields, covering more than 800 nautical miles with 85 sailors and eight fast boats.

Since then, the search has moved north and grown in scope with help from Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras and the United States.

According to the US Embassy here, the US Southern Command directed a US Coast Guard HC-130 plane to assist in the international search coordination.

But after 10 days of searching, the only evidence of the crew that has been found are a few objects believed to have come from the boat, including baskets, rope and a drum of oil.

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