Boats face rocky time at sea [Archives:2007/1014/Local News]

January 8 2007

SANA'A, Jan. 4 ) An Italian tourist yacht sank near Saba Island off the Hodeida coast after it hit the islands' rocks because of the high winds, said an official in the Coast Guard.

The 13 tourists of Italian nationality onboard the Katrina Yacht were transferred by a boat belong to the coast guard authority from Saba Island to Al-Zubir Island and then by helicopter to Hodeida.

The passengers were four men with their wives, and four single women and the Yacht's captain wife who is Yemeni Italian nationality and two Philippine men and six Yemenis working as sailors on board.

The coast guard said they have a boat concerned with protecting tourists and it works constantly in Asslif port where tourists can be found most of time and it's just to protect the tourists' passengers in Assalif port.

“We have also received a distress call from Katrina Yacht and obey the call immediately,” said the official. “Katrina boat is completely destroyed and drowned when we came back for the second time to save Katrina Yacht too as we saved the tourist's passengers and the Katrina Yacht crew by some naval forces boats.”

Last Saturday the Coast Guard called off the search for survivors following the capsizing of two boats carrying African migrants, leaving 26 people confirmed dead and 132 missing, said the UNHCR.

The two boats were carrying Somali and Ethiopian migrants when they capsized in the heavy seas off Yemen late Wednesday, they ended the search operation after hope washed out of finding any more survivors, said coast guard official in Shabwa.

Nine bodies were recovered last Dec. 29 bringing the number of confirmed dead to 26, and 17 bodies were found a week after smugglers' boats crossing the Gulf of Aden from Somalia capsized off the coast of Shabwa,

“All the missing people are now presumed dead,” said an official with the coast guard. The two boats were among four boats carrying 515 passengers, most of them were Somalis.

All the smugglers were arrested and their boats were seized by the Yemeni coast guard, and it was the second event in shooting involvement between the Yemeni coast guard and the human traffickers this month, said the Yemeni coasts guard.