A sailor has gone missing from a Cuban tanker that had been heading to Venezuela from a Mexican shipyard, reports Reuters. This has been the second incident in a year involving the vessel. The Cuban oil tanker Petion earlier had a similar incident on board when a Cuban seafarer was found dead on the ship.
The missing sailor named Rafael Desiderio Martinez Alonso hasn’t been found yet and is said to have been reported missing by a doctor on board the vessel. The ship had been sailing towards the Cardon terminal of Venezuelan West Coast from Veracruz port in Mexico when the incident happened.
The ship authorities have suspected that Alonso went overboard. The sailor’s shoes have been found near the gas plant of the ship. The shipping agency handling the ship has related this information to Venezuelan port authorities for the rescue of the sailor. Alonso has not been declared yet although he fell into the waters on Sunday and 3 days have passed since then.
The ship had started a rescue and search operation on the same day as the general had been activated. However, the sailor couldn’t be found even after 24 hours of extensive search. The sailor’s nationality hasn’t been verified yet but he is likely to be a Cuban national as Cuban ships generally have all-Cuban crews.
On Monday, the tanker had stopped near the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean for 18hours. During this time, its status had been changed to “not under command” from “underway using engine”.
Refinitiv Eikon tanker monitoring data has shown that the tanker continued its journey towards Venezuela on Tuesday. Last year, the tanker had a death on board while it was anchored in Amuay port near Venezuela. A helmsman had fallen overboard and died.
The tanker and its Cyprus based managing firm Caroil Transport Marine Ltd have been under US Sanctions from 2019 for illegal transport of Venezuelan oil to Cuba. Earlier in March and May, the ship had undergone servicing in Mexico.
A similar incident happened on a Cameroon flagged vessel in March which arrived in Venezuela with a dead crew. The tanker named Domani had reported the death as suicide.