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4 Men In U.S. Customs Custody After Disabled Fishing Vessel Takes On Water

SAN JUAN — Coast Guard air and surface units ended the search for an overdue 20-foot blue and white boat Monday afternoon, after the vessel was found ashore near Punta Salinas in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

Four men are reportedly in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol as their nationalities and the rest of the circumstances surrounding this case are under investigation.  

“Given the predominant harsh weather conditions that exist in the waters surrounding Puerto Rico, these men are extremely fortunate,” said Cmdr Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response.  “This vessel was not equipped with adequate life-saving equipment and the situation nearly resulted in a tragedy. The Coast Guard appreciates the support and diligence of the U.S. Border Patrol in their efforts to help us resolve this case”.

Initially, the case was reported to the Coast Guard Monday morning as three men aboard a fishing boat that was disabled and taking on water, approximately 20 nautical miles north of Vega Baja and Dorado, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a call from a 911 Emergency Service operator, who relayed a call reporting the distress.

Coast Guard assets involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
  • Coast Guard Cutter Jospeh Doyle, a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Coast Guard Station 45-foot Response Boat Medium from Boat Station San Juan.
  • Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Florida
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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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