Missing Dutch trawler, heading for Congo, is located at sea

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A Dutch trawler that went missing off the coast of Africa with two crew on board has been found safe and is being towed to port by the Nigerian navy, local broadcaster Omrop Fryslân said.

The former fishing boat, which sailed out of Urk, sent out an emergency signal on November 5 and nothing more had been heard since then. Yesterday the Nigerian navy managed to localize the signal and sent out a rescue mission. 

The boat left the Netherlands several weeks ago with three crew on board after it was bought by a church community in Congo which intended to use it to fish for sardines. The skipper Henk Visser left the boat in Gambia after being taken ill. 

Visser told Dutch local media at the time of the sale that the boat was at least 70 years old but still in good condition. Before leaving on the journey it was painted green to match the colours of its new owners

The local authorities are in touch with the Dutch police but so far nothing has been said about what happened and why it took 12 days to find the boat. 

Benie Zeilmaker, the brother of one of the two crew Corrie, said he was incredibly relieved to get the good news on Friday afternoon. “A great weight fell from my shoulders,” he told NPO radio. However, it will still take 30 to 35 hours before the ship reaches land, he said. 

“It may be that they had too little fuel,” he said. “But they have just been in Gambia and you would think they would check the fuel gauge,” he said. 

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