Two fishermen, identified as Antonio Sabino and Osorio Pires from Neves in SaôTomē and Principe reportedly lost in the Atlantic Ocean for five days have been rescued in the Brass Council Area of Bayelsa State.
The traumatised men, who speak Portuguese, were said to have been rescued by a fishing trawler in the Gulf of Guinea and handed over to fishermen from Okpoama on the Atlantic coast of Brass who took them ashore.
Chairman of the Okpoama Kingdom Security Committee, Chief Munalayefa William-Sinte, said the malnourished and frail-looking men were clothed and fed before they were handed over to the Police for necessary action.
He said the fishermen were visibly worried but were calmed with sign language before they were handed over to the Police as it was impossible to communicate with them because of the language barrier.
Chief Sinte also disclosed that a fisherman from Ilaje in Ondo State, but resident in Okpoama, has been missing for over a week and his colleagues have been searching the ocean for days.
According to a community source, “In 2019, bodies of two male fishermen at an advanced stage of decomposition were found in a fishing boat that drifted ashore in Okpoama from Saọ̄ Tomē and Principe.”
Contacted, spokesman of the state police command, SP Asinim Bustwat, confirmed the development.
He said: “The Divisional Police Officer of Okpoama Division, Brass Local Government Area has taken custody of two fishermen who were rescued by a Captain of a fishing trawler at 50 nautical miles off the Atlantic ocean, on 2 July 2023.
“The two fishermen, Antonio Sabino ‘m’ 52 years and Osorio Pires ‘m’ 41 years, from Neves in SaôTomē and Principe got lost in the Atlantic Ocean for five days before being rescued by a trawler.
“The Police authorities have established contact with a coast guard officer from Saô Tomē and Principe and are making concerted effort to reunite them with their families.”