The sinking of the Erik in Baja. What is the missing part of the story? By William Ebersman
On July 3 , 2011, the Sportfisher Erik left San Felipe motoring down the Sea of Cortez for a planned one-week fishing trip. They never made it.
There are contradictory stories regarding wind conditions, the weather, and the condition of the boat. What is known is that the boat sank, in 300 feet of water, most likely with seven American anglers whose bodies have yet to be recovered. The Mexican Navy claims that they do not have the equipment needed to locate a 100 ton - 105 foot fishing vessel at that depth. Either they are incompetent or covering something up.
There are pangeros with battery-operated equipment on board sophisticated enough to find the Erik. Hell, there are kayaks with equipment on board that can locate the Erik. So, why can't the Mexican Navy find this boat?
My guess is that they simply don't want to. I can't hazard a guess what the reason for their lack of action might be.
Recently, President Barack Obama made a request of Texas Governor Rick Perry to stop the execution of convicted rapist-murderer Humberto Leal Gonzalez because it would cause "irrevocable harm" to US interests.
It is a well-known fact that Mexico will not extradite one of their citizens for a capital crime until the possibility of the death penalty is removed. With a country that has such a reverence for life, how come 7 US families can't bury their dead? I wonder if the lives of 7 U.S. citizens are of less value than one convicted murderer. Check with President Obama on that one.
Another fact. Grief councilors were provided by the Mexican government for the survivors. This would have been useful if any of them spoke English. Are there no bilingual grief councilors in the country of Mexico that were available?
By the way, where is California's Governor Jerry Brown? I'd like to think that the Governor might have the best interests of its' citizens at heart. Oh yeah, I guess the dead ones can't vote so they don't interest our governor.
The Mexican government requested that the survivors write down the facts of the accident. These were then transcribed. The facts of the accounts were so twisted that none of the survivors were willing to sign these accounts while in Mexico. Accounts of the accident were provided to the US Consulate when the survivors were back in the U.S.
Another question. On February 9, 2001 the 180-foot long Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru was sunk when the US Navy Submarine Greenville surfaced and cut the fishing vessel in half. The Ehime Maru sank in 1800 feet of water. Deemed too great a depth to do body recovery at, the Ehime Maru was moved to shallower water. Eight of the missing fishermen's bodies were subsequently recovered. Has this technology evaporated?
If the Mexican government is going to attempt to pass on the Big Lie regarding the Erik, then should we believe them when they say that the hundred of trucks coming into the US under NAFTA are in good shape? Brakes functional, all air pollution standards being met, drivers of legal age and possessing a valid license? Who is going to be responsible when a North-bound truck is involved in a fatal accident? Can we even be sure that the truck's contents are what they are purported to be?
Recently, there's been some pangas found abandoned along the southern coast of California. The smart money says that drugs and Mexican citizens are being smuggled in the U.S. I guess if the U.S. and Mexican navies can't track a 25-foot boat on top of the water, there's little if any chance of finding a boat of any length under the water. These are your Federal dollars at work.
Do I like the country of Mexico? Yes. Do I have great respect for their citizens? Absolutely. Will you find me fishing in anything in Mexico but a panga or superpanga where I'm only a few steps from the water? Not unless it's a U.S.-registered fishing boat with Coast Guard inspection.
Am I angry? Yes. The U.S. government is afraid to rile Mexico. How many dead bodies do you need to have for the U.S. government to consider it significant?
If you're mad, do something about it. Write to the President. Write to your local representative. Let them know why you're unhappy. The families of 7 dead U.S. citizens probably have.
So, here's a question for the Mexican government.
With Remote Operation Vessels capable of independent movement in thousands of feet of water and a robust domestic oil-drilling program, why can't you borrow some equipment and operators for a day or so and find the Erik?
If that's too expensive, how about you hire a couple of guys with sharp eyes and binoculars. They can sit up on the cliffs and look for the oil slick that's going to be from the fuel leaking from the wreck. Might take a few weeks but apparently there's no rush on Mexico's part.