On New Year’s Eve, a Mexican fisherman was killed in the latest violent confrontation between poachers and a joint Sea Shepherd / Mexican Navy enforcement operation in the Gulf of California. Another individual was hospitalized and is said to be in stable condition.
A video of the deadly collision appears to show a speedboat approaching the Sea Shepherd vessel Farley Mowat (ex-USCGC Pea Island) at high speed in a meeting situation. It appears to swerve to starboard, away from Farley Mowat, but its momentum carries it sideways under the vessel’s bow. The impact caused the panga to split into two pieces, according to Sea Shepherd, and the two occupants went into the water.
Other fishing pangas rescued the two men and transferred them to the second Sea Shepherd vessel on scene, the Sharpie (ex-USCGC Bainbridge Island). One man was not breathing, and the other appeared to have broken ribs. While Mexican Navy medics aboard the Sharpie were attending to the victims, two assailants from other pangas boarded the vessel, while others threw molotov cocktails aboard and sparked a fire on the bow, Sea Shepherd said. The two victims were transferred to Mexican Navy patrol boats for evacuation and treatment; one did not survive. Read on.