Coast Guard Searching for Missing Fisherman near Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews continue searching today for a man aboard the fishing vessel Don Chepo who was reported being overdue to Coast Guard watch standers Wednesday as he was traveling from Saint John, US. Virgin Islands to Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Missing is Phillip Fredericks, 45, a resident of Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands. He was reported having three life vests, a VHF radio, three flares and two cellular phones aboard the fishing vessel.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan controllers received a call at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday reporting the Don Chepo had departed Monday afternoon from Saint John and was expected to arrive Tuesday night to Vieques, but the vessel never arrived.

The 27-foot Don Chepo is a fiberglass and wooden fishing vessel with a blue hull and is powered by two 200 horsepower Evinrude outboard engines.

Coast Guard aircrews from a Clearwater Fla. HC-130 Hercules aircraft and Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopters are searching waters from Saint John and surrounding Vieques, since the search to find Fredricks began Wednesday. They have conducted five searches spanning out approximately 2,483 square nautical miles.

The Coast Guard is currently broadcasting an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners over VHF radio requesting mariners to keep a sharp lookout for the missing fisherman, render assistance if needed and report sightings to the U.S. Coast Guard.

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