No sign of missing men aboard 20ft boat

| 28/06/2016 | 22 Comments
Cayman News Service

Boat belonging to Carl Demmie Ebanks

(CNS): Four men who are believed to have left Cayman almost one week ago on a 20-foot Wellcraft boat from North West Point are still missing, police have confirmed. Carl Demmie Ebanks (59), Migeal Aedran Palmer (40) and two other unidentified men who are believed to be Jamaican did not notify the Port Authority before leaving and were not reported missing until Saturday, 25 June, three days after setting out to sea. Police believe they left on Ebanks’ boat sometime on Wednesday, 22 June, from Ronald Martin’s Dock, West Bay, for an unknown destination.

“The RCIPS would like to once again stress the need for boat owners to notify the Port Authority before departing on trips to 12-Mile Bank and beyond, and also of the requirement for emergency safety and communication equipment, such as VHF radios or at least mobile phones, as well as distress flares,” police said Tuesday in a release outlining more details about the missing men.

The police said the boat, which has a black 200hp engine and 15hp Yamaha outboard engine, is white but it may have been painted blue and white. Since it went missing there have been no sightings, flares or radio alerts concerning the men or the boat.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week, before the men were reported missing, the police said the RCIPS helicopter flew over large areas offshore, including the Sister Islands, in the course of its patrols, but the crew did not see any vessels matching the description and no distress flares were seen.

While the offshore areas patrolled were large, the police do not know, given the vagueness of the details provided, whether they had flown over the areas where the men could have travelled. Given the time that had elapsed since the believed departure of the boat, as well as the fact that the destination was unknown, no search area could be defined by the time of the report on Saturday, officials from the RCIPS stated.

The police have, however, notified all local agencies as well as regional law enforcement of the missing men and they remain in contact with the relevant agencies. In the past six days the police helicopter has continued to monitor large areas offshore around Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands but nothing has been heard on the marine emergency channel nor have any distress flares been seen.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of these missing persons is asked to call 949-4222.

Anonymous tips can be provided via the Miami-based call centre of Crime Stoppers at 800-8477(TIPS).

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Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Port Authority has had for a very long time a document listing the minimum required safety equipment for all vessels based on type and length. (I remember seeing this in 2001).
    Just because people refuse to acknowledge its existence is no reason to go off the rails trying to get the government to create more laws. Enforce what is in existence already. How many actually register their boat annually with the Port Authority? Besides, you can’t legislate against being stupid – sort of like those who still use their phones and text while driving or drink and drive all the time with full knowledge that they are dangerous and flout the law. Lead by example and stop whining.
    By the way, I agree any vessel with the intent of going more than say 3 miles offshore should be required to carry an EPRIB or other satellite locating device (SPOT, InReach, ACR ResQlink etc.) and think the existing rules could be updated recognising that new technology – but know it isn’t going to happen.

  2. frangipani says:

    This is becoming far too common now. People (and only those competent to drive a boat) should have license in order to captain boats and also the boat itself should be licensed. No one should be able to leave the shores without a chart of the route they plan to take and the chart should be filed with the relevant Authority (which one assumes is the Port Authority). Proper communication equipment should also be compulsory.
    So sorry to hear this disturbing news again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I almost got cut down in north sound the othewr day. I followed the boater-the captain was drunk! He couldn’t even stand up when they arrived at rum point! Locals and foreighners alike go to rum point on saturdays and sundays and get stone blind drunk-then scream across the soind with huge engines and high speed -drunk! Why? In usa they would be arrtested- that dangerous mon? Worse than drunk driving? Where are the authorities. I stop going out there altogether for that reason!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you were drunk when you wrote this.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have no DUI marine law, and NO ticketing system for dealing with marine offences, only inadequate Port Authority Law, which requires laborious prosecution process resulting in obsolete fines. Ticketing system was recommended to Govt years ago, and ended up in file thirteen. How about re-visiting this recommendation and actually doing something about the problem before more lives are lost on account of lack of basic safety equipment, and boat handling.

  4. Not OK says:

    This is why we need a proper Department of Public Safety which includes a Coast Guard. All boats should be registered with the Shipping Registry and tagged with GPS chips. Mandatory requirement to go out to the 12 mile bank and beyond should include: large water bottle, extra fuel, food rations, flare gun, horn, life vests for every passenger, inflatable raft (if possible), cellphone, radio transmitter, strobe light, etc.

    The boat should also be of a certain size.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget your strobe light! Disco on the high seas!

    • Anonymous says:

      Until some safety requirements and boater safety education is mandated the public will continue to place themselves in danger.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really, it doesn’t matter if you try to regulate this people will do what they want. It sucks they are missing and probably will never be found but it is only a small majority of people who run into problems. Who knows, they may have made it to Cuba and are just fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      In the great expanse of an ocean, without an EPIRB or EPIRB PLB/MOB, even 50+ foot sportfishing yachts are literally lost like needles in a haystack – even if people have reported them overdue, and even with the US Coast Guards best SAROPS algorithm, they will still need fuel, equipment, and expertise to sweep 1000s of nautical grid miles and hope to get lucky. Whereas, an EPIRB signals a distress location at 406MHz via satellites to a precision of +/-50m. Some of these other coastal comforts will not matter much at all in a serious scenario. Until something better is developed, right after a safe floating upright boat, an EPIRB and/or EPIRB PLB/MOB are right up there as the most essential pieces of equipment for anyone going to sea that wants to be recovered alive and in one piece. It’s also the best method to manually signal distress before you are officially overdue. Since the Copsas-Sarsat organisation was set up, over 20,000 people have been plucked from the sea this way.

  5. Anonymous says:

    don’t meet the man in the ocean if you don’t have his money.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why does the RCIPS persist in giving marine safety advice from 1975? VHF (if anyone is monitoring Ch16), and mobile phone range is 15-20 miles tops, and dry working flares wouldn’t necessarily be visible from a tiny coastal boat caught out at 12 mile banks (if that’s what happened). Under ideal circumstances they only shoot to 300m and burn for 40 secs.

    In 2016, all fishermen that go out to sea should know to have an EPIRB using Global Positioning Satellites. GlobalFix and Ocean Signal make models for USD$399. This is essential and affordable life saving ocean-going equipment – for those that WANT to be found. Common knowledge to everyone it seems, but the antiquated RCIPS “marine specialists” tasked with rescuing people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Around this island, channel 16 marine is monitored by the Port Authority, the 911 centre and all larger vessels at sea (as well as the helicopter it seems). As well as most operators around the Island. Fully agree that EPIRBs should be mandatory, but they are not, and probably not of interest to most of the ‘fishermen’ this may refer to, so probably pointless. Flares are used to attract the attention of other vessels and passing / searching aircraft like the helicopter, of course they are no use when out of sight of land. Lifejackets and EPIRBs would be great. As would actually telling someone where you are going!

      • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

        1:20 tell who you are going where to do what I have to ask? LMAO.

      • Anonymous says:

        Flares can be very useful when out of sight of land.

        • Anonymous says:

          Honestly: how many of those 10 year old flares in typical boater’s plastic 3-pack would you bet your life on? Which of your passengers do you eat first after your third one’s a dud?

      • Anonymous says:

        Earth curvature is measured at 8 inches per mile, so at just 20 miles offshore, vessels are already sitting almost 15 feet lower on the horizon. If you’ve ever been out there, that means you can barely make out the island, and, depending on cloud reflection, are typically well out of range for normal cell phones and island-based VHF – without a high-mounted antenna. These are coastal technologies only. EPIRB is the best way to signal distress offshore with no VHF-equipped vessels in the vicinity. With 24-48 hrs of battery reserve, they are “off” until switched “on” manually or via catastrophic water immersion at the exact moment of calamity (and not many hours or days after being announced overdue), so useful even for the most clandestine of fishermen. For boaters routinely burning $300 in fuel in an afternoon, these shouldn’t be considered a great extravagance. I certainly wouldn’t classify EPIRBs as “pointless” unless you consider your own life, and those of your passengers to be. Even the best intended, “I’m going out on the ocean to catch fish and will be back later”, is not going to give rescuers any helpful information on pinpointing your location.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well I don’t think the extra fuel container in the picture was to help them cross the north sound…

  8. Anonymous says:

    200hp in a 18ft boat. That’s some trip!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Must be very scary for the family & friends. I hope they are found safe soon.

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