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November 13, 2009
Vessel found circling at sea with no one on board

by Dayle DaSilva 13.NOV.09

A pair of shoes, a tarpaulin, life vest, binoculars, flash light and clothing were among the possessions of missing fisherman Richard “Rambo” Franklyn, which Coast Guardsmen recovered from the sea recently.{{more}}

The 69-year-old Barrouallie fisherman has been missing at sea since last Friday, November 6.

According to family members, as much as they have to deal with the tragedy, they were also anxious to find out exactly what happened on that day.

“We are asking for the truth about what happened,” Julian Caesar, son of the missing man, said.

He said the family had given up any hope of ever seeing him alive again.

Franklyn left home to go fishing around 6 a.m. that day, clad in black shorts with no shirt, Caesar said.

He frequently made fishing expeditions alone and this was the first outing in a while as the boat had been undergoing repairs, he added.

Caesar told SEARCHLIGHT they were first informed of the day’s events around 5 p.m. when a member of the Coast Guard, and a member of the Barrouallie community called to say that his (Caesar) father’s boat was discovered and was being escorted to the base at Calliaqua.

Caesar said he was then told that the boat had been discovered some distance off Campden Park, but sank some time later.

“They said the items were picked up in the water, but everything was dry,” Caesar contended.

According to Ceaser, another family member reported being told that the boat had been spotted at Buccament Bay.

In desperation, Julian said, the family went to that site in search of the vessel, but did not find it. The next day they went to the Coast Guard base because of a tip that reported a black-and-yellow, 15-foot vessel docked there.

Getting there meant more agony as they were again told that the boat had been located, but later capsized and eventually sank.

Shem Caesar, the last of Franklyn’s eight children, said he missed his dad and he would not stop looking for answers.

“We would like to get the truth,” he said.

A Coast Guard source reported to SEARCHLIGHT that the vessel was first spotted some four nautical miles off Campden Park, and they responded promptly. Officers found the vessel circling in the water with the engine running, but with no one on board.

An officer managed to board the vessel and eventually shut down the engine.

The source added that conditions at sea were choppy, and while preparations to tow the vessel were being made, the vessel was hit by a swell.

Another swell capsized the boat.

Searches conducted in the area turned up the personal effects, but the vessel sank.

All this information had been related to family members, the Coast Guard source said, adding that the search for the missing fisherman and investigations into what occurred were continuing.