Hurricane Otis Sank at Least 33 Boats, Including Many That Were Crewed

Hurricane damage along Boulevard de las Naciones, south of the bay (Gobierno de Guerrero)
Hurricane damage along Boulevard de las Naciones, south of the bay (Gobierno de Guerrero)

Published Nov 1, 2023 8:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Mexican Navy has discovered 33 boats on the bottom of Acapulco Bay during the cleanup from Hurricane Otis, which exploded into a Category 5 storm and slammed into the city last week. 

About 47 people have been confirmed dead from the effects of the storm, and at least 54 are missing. The number of the deceased is expected to rise as search and salvage efforts continue. Sunken boats are a key area of focus for the search teams; Acapulco had a large fleet of tourist charter boats, many of which were crewed at the time of the storm. 

At least 20 crewmembers were killed aboard a single vessel, the Arca Ray, which went down off Acapulco during the hurricane, the head of the local chamber of tourism told Reforma. "They tried to fight the hurricane from their boats, on the mooring buoys, so that if they had to they could free their boats," he said. 

Overflight videos of Acapulco Bay show the waterfront littered with capsized, half-sunken vessels, with more tossed far up on shore by the wind and waves. 

Adm. Jose Rafael Ojeda Duran, secretary of the Mexican Navy, said that a crane vessel is under way for Acapulco to raise the lost boats to the surface. 

Acapulco was a bustling resort city before the storm, but Hurricane Otis' high winds tore through its hotel district, gutting dozens of multistory buildings and leaving concrete shells behind. Rampant looting has affected the surviving businesses. The local business community is making plans to rebuild, but acknowledges that the city will need considerable help to restore its former economy. Mexico's tourism secretary, Miguel Torruco, says that a damage survey is under way and an initial assessment of the total cost should be completed within a week.