The search for Croatian captain Dino Miskic, who went missing with the crew of a French tug boat when it sank in the Atlantic on September 26, continues, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Saturday after Martinique's authorities and the French Navy said that after 16 days they would stop the active search and switch to active surveillance.
"One still hasn't given up. The search continues in a way," the minister said, adding that the French authorities had shown incredible solidarity and cooperation.
The Croatian authorities continue to follow developments, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is involved and satellites are also available, the minister said.
"We continue to be actively involved in the search," he said, adding that the Foreign Ministry, the Croatian Embassy in Paris and the prime minister's office were in contact with Miskic's family.
The Bourbon Rhode tug sank in the middle of the Atlantic due to hurricane Lorenzo. Four ships, as well as the US and French aircraft, have been involved in rescue operations. The EMSA became involved at the request of the Croatian government.
Martinique Prefect Franck Robine said early this morning the search for seven crew members was switching from an active search to active surveillance because they believed it was nearly impossible any of the crew were still alive.
Active surveillance means that everyone remains mobilised yet no new boats will be sent into the search area, but everyone passing there must be on alert for any signs of the crew or the life raft, he explained.
The authorities said an area of 205,000 square kilometres had been searched by 19 boats and 15 aircraft.
An executive of the Bourbon shipping company said today he regretted that the extensive search and rescue operation over the past week had not yielded the desired result. "In more than ten days, no sign of life or the life raft has been detected," he said in a press release.
So far, the search has resulted in the finding of three crew members who have survived and four dead. The Bourbon Rhode comprised 14 members - Miskic, one Russian, one South African, one Filipino and the rest were Ukrainian.