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Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Elroy Skerritt has told Observer that
investigations into the origin of an unusual-looking boat found in Antiguan waters on
Monday suggest it came from as far as Morocco in northern Africa.
Skerritt said an investigation had been launched collaboratively with police and
immigration officials, subsequent to the Coast Guard’s removal of the boat from Parham
Harbour on Monday afternoon.
He said the boat was more than likely occupied by people as food and clothing
items, and other tell-tale signs of human occupancy, had been discovered on board.
The boat had no passengers when it was found.
Skerritt said the Coast Guard had contacted Moroccan search and rescue
authorities who have begun carrying out their own investigations into the appearance of
their boats in Caribbean waters.
In St Barth on Monday a similar vessel in terms of colour and insignia was spotted in
the island’s waters by fishermen. A Facebook post by the Coral Restoration St Barth
group said, “This type of boat is used very much in Western Sahara. The one found is
from Morocco. It is used for octopus fishing, specific at Araiche beach … a boat of this
type was discovered off Barbados in February 2016.”
Lieutenant Skerritt said his hope is to have the probe wrapped up as soon as
possible so that family or friends in Morocco who may know of the boats found in
Caribbean waters can have closure if they have lost loved ones at sea.
Morocco is located more than 3,500 miles from the north-east of Antigua.