A Delft seaman is one of the crew members of the tug Bourbon Rhode that has reportedly sunk west off Cape Verde after it was caught in a cyclone. Picture: https://www.bourbonoffshore.com/en
Cape Town - A Cape Town seaman is one of the crew members of the tug Bourbon Rhode that has reportedly sunk west off Cape Verde after it was caught in a cyclone.

The tug, which was en route from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to Georgetown in Guyana, issued a distress signal last Thursday morning shortly after suffering massive water ingress in the ship’s compartments.

A 63-year-old man from Delft in Cape Town was among the 14 crew who apparently evacuated the ship.

The Ukranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the tug apparently sank, and three crew members, including two Ukrainians, were rescued while the fate of the remaining 11 crew members was still unknown. Bourbon, however, revealed that one of the crew members had died.

The three rescued seamen were picked up from the life raft shortly after the tug ran into difficulties. Search and rescue operations are still going on, with at least two more ships having joined the operation co-ordinated by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre with the deployment of patrol planes.

“The three crew members were taken in charge by the medical support team aboard the commercial vessel and are under medical observation. It’s been confirmed that the vessel has sunk,” Bourbon said.

"The body of the missing seafarer was located by one of the aircraft involved in the search and has been recovered by one of the five vessels that came to assist. The seafarer's family was immediately notified and they requested that the identity not be disclosed.

"Rescue operations are continuing to find the other crew members, with significant maritime and air search resources deployed by the French and American authorities," declared Gaël Bodénès, Chief Executive Officer of Bourbon Corporation.

"All our thoughts and prayers go to his family and loved ones. This tragedy affects all employees who express their full support to the seafarers' families. We remain fully mobilized on search operations to find the other missing seafarers and I would like to express our gratitude to the rescuers, all the teams of the CROSS (Regional Operational Centre for Surveillance and Rescue) and the teams of the crisis cells who are working tirelessly to this end."

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