Argentina steps up search for missing fishing boat

The head of the Maritime Traffic Service of the coast guard, Carlos Villareal, speaks during an interview on the case of an Argentinian fishing boat missing in Atlantic waters with nine crew members on board, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 11, 2018. EPA-EFE/David Fernandez

Buenos Aires, Jun 11 (efe-epa).- The Argentine coast guard has stepped the search in an area along the coast of the southern province of Chubut for the fishing boat that went missing last weekend with nine people aboard.

Because of the movement along the coast of a fuel spill that appeared Sunday, plus the discovery of the lifeless body of the captain of the Rigel, the coast guard will incorporate into the operation the Tango, a vessel with an underwater tracking device aboard.

«With these elements the search will be done using software that continually gives us updated predictions of which way the boat will be moving, whether there is a life raft in the water or if there are some human elements in the water,» the head of the Maritime Traffic Service of the coast guard, Carlos Villareal, told EFE.

Currently operating in that area are two navy ships, two coast guard vessels, two planes and two helicopters, to which will be added the Tango.

Also taking part in the search are 30 private fishing boats and various vehicles that are patrolling the coastline in the land operation.

The search area is restricted to 205 km (127 mi) along the coast, where the last communication took place with the Rigel, whose emergency radio signal was activated before dawn last Saturday.

The Rigel sailed on June 5 from the port of Mar del Plata to go fishing in «unfavorable» conditions due to the strong winds, Villareal said.