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Fisherman Survives Sinking off Yucatan By Clinging to Floating Cooler

queen b
The geared container feeder Queen B carried out the rescue last week (World Direct Shipping)

Published Feb 8, 2022 9:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

On a routine voyage from Coatzacoalcos, Mexico to Port Manatee, Florida, the container feeder Queen B carried out a miraculous rescue: the crew spotted and saved a fisherman who had been adrift atop a fiberglass cooler for several days. 

The fisherman, identified by local media as Eric Estrada, 33, had departed the port of Celestun on the Yucatan Peninsula with his nephew on January 29. They encountered stronger than expected waves on the 31st, and their boat sank. The nephew survived by clinging to a fishing buoy and was rescued by another fisherman, who took him to shore for treatment for severe dehydration. However, Estrada - who had caught hold of the boat's cooler for floatation - had drifted out of sight. Local fishermen and first responders began a search but could not locate him, and he was feared lost at sea. 

On the morning of February 3, officials at the Port of Celestun received a call from Florida, alerting them that Estrada had been rescued at sea by the crew of the Queen B. The freighter had spotted the missing fisherman about 95 nm off the coast of Progreso, Mexico. He is reportedly in good health, and plans to repatriate him are under way. 

Queen B is a small container feeder built in 2004 and flagged in Cyprus. She is managed by a German company headquartered in Hamburg and is commercially managed by World Direct Shipping, a small container carrier based in Florida.