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Hopes to find missing captain dashed

2020-03-06  Eveline de Klerk

Hopes to find missing captain dashed
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SWAKOPMUND – Hangana Seafood has ruled out any reasonable prospect to find the missing captain Carlo Gordon alive or recover his body from the wreck at sea. Gordon went missing on 18 February, a day after he led his 26 crew members to the fishing grounds on the hake-catching vessel.

His family’s hopes to find him alive were dashed when Hangana Seafood issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that retrieving remains would be impossible. They said they came to this conclusion after engaging in extensive consultations with experts to explore all possibilities to find Gordon.

Hangana explained that apart from a private search mission and rescue effort, they also made immediate contact with a leading international salvage company Resolve Marine Group, situated in Florida, USA, and it has been actively involved in global salvage and wreck removal for the past 30 years. 

 “After meeting with them, it was determined that the most effective search operation would be an aerial survey, based on factors such as speed, visibility, distance covered, the depth of the sunken vessel, as well as the wind and sea currents,” read the company statement.

This, according to Hangana, resulted in a two-day aerial search for Gordon, with a team consisting of Hangana managing director Herman Theron, Tari van der Merwe of Walvis Bay Diving, Graham Riddell from Resolve Marine Group and two pilots. 

“The team found no traces of Gordon or debris from the vessel. It was also established that even with the use of highly sophisticated equipment, it is humanly impossible and would be a highly dangerous undertaking, as the vessel sank at a depth of approximately 318 metres,” stated Hangana Seafood.
Currently, world record ultra-deep mixed gas dives have been performed at a depth of 330 meters in the Red Sea in ideal conditions – with no currents and with no time spent at the bottom. A search of the wreck in conditions of poor visibility and with currents of up to 7 knots renders the operation extremely dangerous and nearly impossible, according to Hangana.

Hangana also explained that getting a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to locate the missing captain was also ruled out, as the ROV only functions as a visual aid and cannot recover persons from the seabed. 

“Moreover, it would have significant limitations, as the depth of the vessel and the conditions at the seabed are such that visibility will be very poor and an ROV would only be able to inspect the exterior of the wreck once located. Retrieving Gordon would, thus, be impossible,” its statement read.
Meanwhile, the company will be holding a special service at its premises in Walvis Bay for family and friends of Gordon at a date yet to be arranged.

Hangana Seafood has also given its commitment to continue assisting Gordon’s wife Jacoline in dealing with essential administrative issues related to his personal affairs, and they are consulting with the home affairs ministry to ensure her needs are expeditiously attended to.  

2020-03-06  Eveline de Klerk

Tags: Erongo
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