Cargo sailing ship capsizes off Bahamas, missing sailors presumed dead

One of the vessels from Blue Schooner Company, a pioneer in sail-powered cargo shipping, has capsized and sunk south of the Bahamas archipelago.

The United States Coast Guard reported that the Schooner De Gallant capsized at 3:30 am on Tuesday and sank half an hour later. The incident was caused by sudden and unexpectedly violent winds, which led to the ship’s evacuation.

The schooner had departed from Santa Marta, Colombia, on May 11, carrying a cargo of coffee, cocoa, and cane sugar, bound for various European destinations.

Rescue operations were coordinated by the Miami section of the Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center (CROSS) in conjunction with Cross Gris-Nez. During the rescue, six of the eight crew members were hoisted by helicopter.

Blue Schooner issued a statement saying that a major rescue effort was underway to locate the remaining two crew members. This effort included two helicopters, a plane, a USCG vessel, and a Bahamas patrol vessel.

On Thursday, the United States Coast Guard announced the cessation of search and rescue operations for the two missing sailors.

“Despite our insistence on continuing the search, the scale of the resources deployed, the excellence of the United States Coast Guard, and the weather conditions in which they were carried out force us to consider the worst outcome,” the company said.

Blue Schooner did not provide further information on the missing crew members out of respect for their families. The six crew members who were airlifted on Tuesday have been collected by the French diplomatic services and repatriated.

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