Bajan fishermen survive five days’ drift at sea
April 9, 2009
Bajan fishermen survive five days’ drift at sea

by Neal Jackman 09.APR.09

After drifting for five days in the Caribbean sea, Barbadian fishing vessel L48 Omar, owned by Peterson Greaves and run by Captain Anderson Ward and 1st mate Patrick Jones, is intact but in need of an engine part.{{more}}

Any control which fishermen Ward and Jones had over their boat was lost when their boat’s starter motor failed during their second day at sea. According to 1st mate Patrick Jones, “When we start the boat it would start, but then the motor would start to smoke and spark fire.” To avoid having their vessel burn at sea, the men had to put up with drifting.

Both Ward and Jones said that the boat left Barbados on the morning of Thursday, March 26, from the Barbados Fisheries Complex at 0800 hrs and headed south in search of flying fish and dolphin. On March 27, after one day at sea, they lost their starter motor for the main engine.

“After the mechanical failure we called the boats M271 Prudent Lady and S32 Pouch and told them the problem. At this time we were 76 miles south of Barbados and Prudent Lady, which was the closest one to us, was only 26 miles away. We could hear them but they could not hear us,” Ward lamented.

“We normally go out for 10 to 14 days,” stated Capt. Ward. He later added, “We caught about 30 dolphin and 1,000 flying fish. It was not a bad catch given the circumstances, especially since we could not move around. When the catching get slow we had no choice, because we were drifting.”

On Sunday, March 29, between 0900 hrs and 1000 hrs, the pair came across 3 Vincentian fishermen in St Vincent waters, and relayed to them their situation, coordinates and the cell phone numbers of family members in Barbados.

“We have enough food on board to last a month,” said Jones. The two men were picked up at 1730 hrs on March 31, by the Barbados Coast Guard vessel Rudiyard Lewis. Both fishermen say that they had no idea that the Barbados Coast Guard was looking for them in St Vincent waters.

The sailors were left in the care of the St Vincent Coast Guard, pending repairs and other necessary arrangements for a trip home. The vessel has since returned to Barbados.