A 54-year-old Moroccan national, an experienced sailor who has lived in the Axarquía fishing village of Caleta de Vélez for 30 years, is still missing after his boat sank 14 miles to the south-east of Alborán island, close to Melilla, on 7 July.
Three people, two adult males and a teenager, were able to be rescued from a floating plastic crate at 9.55pm that evening and evacuated by helicopter to Almeria airport after the 15-metre fibre trawler, on which they were out fishing, sank. Though they had signs of hypothermia, none required further hospital treatment. The last crew member, called Mohamed, could not be located.
The search, coordinated by Maritime Rescue in collaboration with the Moroccan coastguard, continued this week as warnings were sent out to other trawlers in the area to be vigilant.
The family of the missing man filed a complaint to the police in Vélez-Málaga this week. His oldest daughter Fátima (he has six children) told SUR that the family didn't understand how this could have happened: "They told us he was the first off the boat. So how could he not have been rescued?"
The cause of the sinking is under investigation but the owner of the boat had informed Maritime Rescue that the incident could have been caused by currents in the area, which resulted in the boat capsizing.