WALVIS BAY – Vena Makena, a skipper of one of the Hangana Seafood fishing vessels that assisted in the 24-hour search of the Resplendent captain Carlo Gordon after the vessel sunk on Tuesday afternoon, said going fishing feels like going to war. Makena observed on Thursday evening during a candle light vigil held at the Narraville Rugby Stadium in support of Gordon’s parents, wife, children and other close relatives.
Gordon (48) in a selfless act was instrumental in the survival of his 26 crew members.
He is still missing at sea.
According to Makena, fishermen face a completely unknown world especially when the sea gets rough, making them wonder if they would make it back alive.
The skipper said he is struggling to come to terms with the tragic event of last week. Makena was one of the first people that conducted the 24-hour search for Gordon following the boat tragedy.
“I have not slept for three days now, but how can I sleep? When I arrived back at Hangana after the search, I was blaming myself. I felt I did not do enough to look for him while I was the last person to search for him and could not find him. I felt like I have failed him,” an emotional Makena said.
Makena added that at times during the search his imagination was playing tricks on him. “I imagined seeing a life jacket in the ocean but it was simply wishful thinking. That is how badly I wanted to find him,” he explained. Makena added that those working at sea know the dangers of going out to the fishing grounds. “We always say that going to fishing grounds is like going to war. However, we never imagined that we will be faced with a tragedy like this and that our brother would be missing,” he said.
Another colleague of Gordon, Jerome van Wyk who brought the 26 crew home after being rescued, said they had all hoped that Gordon would be found safe.
“I so badly hoped that he would be found and rescued like the crew I was taking back to the company. It is only when my first mate went noticeably quiet with tears streaming down his face that I realised that he has not been found. That is when reality hit me and the guilt started to kick in,” Van Wyk explained.
Van Wyk said that the fact that they took 26 crew members home was not good enough for them simply because Gordon was missing.
“Afterwards it came to me, that if there was something more to be done, then God would have showed us. He gave us the 26 back and took one of them, that’s how I found solace,” he said.
The gathering also highlighted the fear families of fishermen live in when their loved ones are at sea. Melissa Croza, a daughter of a fisherman, said she is in constant fear when her father leaves.
“It is nerve wrecking as you don’t know if it is the last time you will see your father alive. We don’t want them to go but we know that it is a job that sustains many families, but the fear that we might lose our father is too much to bear,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Hangana Seafood on Friday launched an aerial search for Gordon. Ohlthaver & List Group spokesperson Roux-Che Locke on Friday said the group had secured a Bay Air charter and launched an aerial search with a team comprising of Hangana managing director, Herman Theron and Walvis Marine Divers, who are experts from South Africa as well as a pilot in the hope of finding Gordon. The Ministry of Works and Transport also appointed a team to conduct investigations.
The team consists of a master mariner, a retired skipper and two government marine surveyors.
Eveline de Klerk
2020-02-24 07:16:40 | 7 months ago