Two missing seamen feared held captive by Moroccan pirates

21st March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Spanish authorities on Thursday launched a search for the two-man crew of a fishing trawler that has not been seen or heard from since setting sail for the Canary Islands

21 March 2008

SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE - Spanish authorities on Thursday launched a search for the two-man crew of a fishing trawler that has not been seen or heard from since setting sail for the Canary Islands from the southern Spanish province of Cádiz a week ago.

José Quevedo, who bought the boat over the internet and was transporting it home to the Canaries, and Cristo Herrera, a retired merchant captain helping with the delivery, were last heard from shortly after they set sail on 13 March.

While authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation, relatives of Quevedo suspect that the trawler may have been boarded while in Moroccan waters and that the two men may be being held captive in what would constitute the first case of piracy the area in decades.

The boat owner's daughter, Jennifer Quevedo, said that the only time she managed to get through to her father on his cell phone the call was answered by "someone speaking in Arabic."

So far two ports along the Moroccan coast have said they have no record of the 10-metre long trawler, Saulo, docking in their facilities.

The boat is reported to have two valuable 580-horse power engines on board.

[Copyright El Pais / JUAN MANUEL PARDELLAS 2008]

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