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Coast guard searching for Odyssier and missing men

Coast guard searching for Odyssier and missing men
Left to Right: Missing: Lennox “Grand Charge” Phillips, Missing:Angus “Pharoah” Webb & Missing: Bernard “Butters” Dublin

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The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard Service (SVGCGS) has mounted a search and rescue operation for a missing fishing vessel “Odyssier” with three men on board.

Coast guard searching for Odyssier and missing men
The fishing vessel “Odyssier” in photo, left port Kingstown on June 1

A release from the police said the St Vincent-registered pirogue left port Kingstown last Tuesday June 1, on its normal fishing expedition;

On board were Bernard “Butters” Dublin, Angus “Pharoah” Webb, and Lennox “Grand Charge” Phillips. The police said the vessel was reportedly last seen on the north-east coast of St. Vincent by another fishing vessel at around 10:00 am on the said day.

On Wednesday June 2, the SVGCGS is said to have received an overdue vessel report of fishing vessel Odyssier, leading to them mounting a search and rescue mission.

This include dissemination of information to local and regional agencies, and a request for surface and aerial searches. The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard Service, the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Center for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is co-ordinating the search and rescue operations for the missing fishing vessel.

Carl “OD” Ashton, the son of Rose Place resident Bernard “Butters” Dublin, told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview on Monday June 8 at Rose Place/ Bottom Town, that his father and the other two men, left around 6 a.m. on June 1 in a one engine pirogue, and would normally return at around 6 p.m. He said on Wednesday June 2, one of his brothers told him their dad had not returned, so they informed the authorities.

The distraught man said other fishermen are entertaining the idea that none of the men had cellular phones, marine radios or any other form of communication device.

He said he is not sure if his father had a cellular phone, but family members of Webb did tell SEARCHLIGHT that Webb had left his phone at home, while Phillips’s son Kenroy “Gimpy” Thomas, said his father would normally take his phone to sea, but he is not sure if he did that day as he was unable to retrieve his father’s bag that was left at a location in Kingstown.

Ashton said he thinks the authorities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), do not pay much attention to fishermen. He said this is evident, given that despite the recent economic issues being face because of COVID-19, fisherfolk were left out of the stimulus package.

“The fisherman got no cheque when they were giving away money,” Ashton said, adding that boats are allowed to go to sea without proper communication equipment. He thinks they should be a required to have such equipment.

“I feel very bad. I just wishing and hoping for them to return safely. It is not the first time he went through this situation, he went through it already and come back safe couple years ago,” Ashton said.

He explained on that occasion that his father turned up in Bequia about two to three days after that episode.

“I don’t want to think anything negative. I just want to keep the faith and think positive because thinking negative not going to make anything better right now. It’s just going to make it worse,” Ashton stressed.

Dublin is the father of six children of which Ashton said he is the oldest.

He claimed that a member of the SVGCGS told his aunt that a coast guard vessel went looking for the missing men but had to turn back because of a gas issue.

“The gas part I don’t understand, because if you looking for someone how can you run out of gas if you know the situation you going into, so that one still have me thinking,” Ashton remarked.

He said he thinks the authorities need to pay closer attention to fisherfolk, making certain that certain things are mandatory, before they are allowed to venture out to sea.

On Monday, Commander of the SVG Coast Guard Brenton Cain, denied to SEARCHLIGHT that they had an issue with gas, but did not comment further, noting that he was preparing a report to send to the police.

“The SVGCGS is reminding the maritime community that we are now in the hurricane season and to take extra precaution when venturing out to sea,” the police release stated.

It added that the coast guard is imploring fishermen and boat operators to practice safety at all times by doing the following:

  • 1 Before leaving for a trip/ fishing expedition, tell a reliable person where you intend to go, how long you intend to stay and the time intend to return – Float Plan.
  • 2 Check the local weather before you set out on the trip.
  • 3 Ensure there is enough fuel for the trip and also a reserve tank, Use the 1/3 Fuel Rule: 1/3 fuel to go, 1/3 to return, and 1/3 in reserve.
  • 4 Carry an alternative means of propulsion {sails/oars} l 5 Carry a VHF radio or a cell phone in your boat. This could greatly assist any rescue attempt.
  • 6 Carry a radar reflector that can assist in detection by other vessels, particularly in reduced visibility
  • 7 Take along a floatation device, at least one per person onboard.
  • 8 Take along a compass, and a GPS
  • 9 Take along signalling device {flare, mirror}
  • 10 Take along water, at least one gallon per person.
  • 11 Enough food for a few days {dry food}.
  • 12 A watertight torch with spear batteries and bulbs.
  • 13 If your boat gets swamps always stay with your boat; you stand a better chance of being rescued.
  • 14 Paint your boat in a bright colour which can be seen easily.
  • 15 Assist other boats in distress.
  • 16 Carry a first aid kit onboard.
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