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Seine crew recovers pirogue lost in Christmas Eve storm

Seine crew recovers pirogue lost in Christmas Eve storm

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by Taranjah Yaw Thur April 17, 2014

More than three months after their 26ft pirogue was lost during passage of the Christmas trough system, a Chateaubelair seine crew was able to salvage their vessel with its 40 horsepower Yamaha engine intact, last Thursday afternoon.{{more}}

The eight-man crew had been operating without an engine since the deadly Christmas storm that left eight dead, and damage in the hundreds of millions. Captain Sheldon Alexander, aka Duppy, told SEARCHLIGHT that it was a real strain operating without their engine boat, but they still went out every day. “Is old school like back in the days when nobody had engine boat,” Alexander chuckled.

The day before the boat was salvaged, the crew was trolling for fish south of the Chateaubelair jetty in the mid Corner Bay area, when the net caught onto something on the sea floor. Diver Mathias Myers, aka Chucky, was sent to investigate and found the net caught on the engine handle of the sunken pirogue. Chucky told SEARCHLIGHT that the vessel was found in about 50 feet of water and filled with muck; he also saw several lionfish in the water keeping guard.

When the salvage operation began the next day, master diver Chucky was sent again to tie a line from the sunken boat to floating buoy and another rope that was taken shore side for towing. The crew, along with others, participated in the rescue operations and in about 20 minutes the vessel was beached to cheers, high-fives and dubs; they immediately began cleaning down and washing out their rescued boat and engine.

SEARCHLIGHT visited the crew at Corner Bay on Tuesday, where a marine mechanic was busy repairing the engine; the boat has already been made shipshape. Captain Duppy said that he is happy to have recovered his boat and engine and he hoped to have the engine running by the next day.

The seine is owned by Hymie Williams, who lives in Chateaubelair and New York. Williams said that he can rest easier now that he knows his position as far as his investments are concerned and that he is confident that things are going to work out soon; this is a time to be positive and support one another, the staunch Chateaubelair man said.

Alexander, 52, has been a fisherman for over 40 years, as he grew up around the waterfront of Chateaubelair. He has been captain of this crew for over one year. Myers has been a free breathing diver most of his life, as he also grew up on the bay side and has been involved in the fishing industry since his early teenage years. In the past, Myers has recovered three drowning victims. He has begun using Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA).

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