Search Ends for Missing Sport Fishing Boat

August 19, 2005

THE search for a sport fishing boat that disappeared off the coast near Playa Flamingo in the northern Pacific province of Guanacaste three weeks ago was called off Sunday, the Coast Guard reported. Five passengers were aboard: captain Harold González, 27, his brother, shipmate Danilo González, 23, and Mallel Gómez Alanis, 16, all Costa Ricans, as well as Mark Vockery, 42, and Laura McCloud, 41, a couple from the United States on their honeymoon.“There is no sign of the boat. Nothing,” Coast Guard station director Manuel Silva told The Tico Times.The boat left shore July 29 without a zarpe – permission from the Maritime Authority to venture more than three miles offshore – and without a certificate of seaworthiness, meaning it had not been inspected for compliance with safety regulations. Although hundreds of boats leave shore without certification, according to Fernando Coronado, head of the Maritime Authority (TT, Aug. 12), officials are examining the possibility of applying an administrative sanction against the boat, the Kingfisher, should it appear.In a frustrating twist, the search was called off the day after it began when radio callers reported the passengers had been rescued and were aboard a shrimping boat. The search resumed the following day once officials determined the report was false; the Coast Guard considered making a legal complaint against the callers, but this week announced it would not do so.

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