HALIFAX, N.S.– Oceans North sends its sincerest condolences to the crew and families of the Spanish fishing trawler Villa de Pitanxo that is reported to have sunk in rough seas off the coast of Newfoundland early today. Rescuers have recovered at least seven bodies and three survivors so far from the total crew of at least 24 people. The trawler, based in Marin, Galicia, issued a distress beacon before sinking about 450 kilometres east of St. John’s on the edge of the Grand Banks.
This area of the ocean is no stranger to tragedy. Forty years ago today, the Ocean Ranger, then the largest drill rig in the world, sank killing all 84 crew on board. And over the years countless hundreds have been lost at sea in the pursuit of a livelihood for them and their families. As a charitable organization dedicated to the sustainable use of the ocean and its resources, Oceans North is often at odds with industry and government over the management of the ocean. Sustainability is our goal, but one that eludes us on many days.
Nevertheless, in the midst of a tragedy like this, it is important to remember and acknowledge that the men and women who daily go to sea, often in the most adverse conditions, are ordinary people trying to make a living. There is no conflict between being dedicated to policy change and having heartfelt respect for those who earn their living on the ocean.
Our thoughts are with the crew and families of the Villa de Pitanxo, the rescuers whose actions are never short of heroic, and all those men and women who “go down to the sea in ships.”
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