A wooden boat found drifting off the north-east coast of Antigua yesterday afternoon confounded local fishermen who hauled it to shore.
Piet Jeffrey told Observer he had spotted the vessel – which had no passengers on board – two miles east of Great Bird Island as he headed home from a day’s fishing.
“I just saw a strange object, scary-looking, so I decided to check it out,” he explained. “Why leave it drifting? I thought I would just bring it in and call the Coast Guard.”
Jeffrey dragged the boat into Parham Harbour at around 4pm on Monday. The Coast Guard arrived promptly to receive it and take it to their St John’s base.
All the more perplexing is the fact that the vessel bears few similarities to local boat design. A peek inside revealed a pile of clothing, life jackets, and rain boots.
A word inscribed on the vessel’s hull reads ‘Agdal’, which is a suburb of the Moroccan capital Rabat. Whether or not the boat actually hails from the African coast remains unclear.
“It seems like it was coming from far and drifting for a while,” Jeffrey added. “As for its origins I have no idea, but its construction is great.”
Lieutenant Commander Elroy Skerritt told Observer, “I was briefed about a boat that looks like one from outside our jurisdiction, and the Coast Guard went to receive it from the fishermen who found it to bring it to the Coast Guard base.
“There we will be able to do a more in-depth investigation; at the moment we don’t have much information on where it might have come from.”