In now what looks to be a fatal decision, Ba Van Nguyen decided last week that he would set sail in his shrimping boat by himself. After leaving from Houston on Friday and never returning, the US Coast Guard has sent out multiple search parties trying to find the single person.
Nguyen’s apparent problems were realized when a separate ship spotted the Regina Pacis adrift at sea, powered, but moving erratically. Before long, the other ship got close enough to Nguyen’s to see that no one was aboard and that the boat was navigating itself, aimlessly. After receiving these reports, the US Coast Guard spent most of the day Saturday searching for Nguyen. This task was made even more impossible because Nguyen was apparently by himself as his ship and most of its equipment had already been recovered. For those not very well-versed in the art of sea rescues, finding a single person floating amid the open ocean is a task that can most easily be equated to finding a needle in a haystack.
Nguyen has more than 25 years of experience fishing for shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, so when he did not return to port around lunchtime on Friday, his friends and family were not immediately alarmed. Then, when reports of an unmanned shrimp boat came streaming in later in the evening that’s when concerns were raised. After hours and hours of searching, and with more than 250 miles of ocean covered, the Coast Guard has decided to suspend the search due to poor weather conditions. It is unlikely that the search will be resumed either, as it is almost impossible to survive more than 3 days adrift in the open sea.
This story goes to show that no matter your experience level with Mother Nature, you are never safe. Especially when it comes to the ocean. Oceans are unforgiving places and by venturing out by yourself, you are only asking for trouble. Our condolences go out to the Nguyen family, and we hope by some miracle he is able to survive this ordeal. Though this is looking increasingly unlikely with each passing hour.