It is recalled that automatic satellite emergency alert mechanisms only indicate approximate positions and the fishing vessel crew did not issue a radio distress call, which made it difficult to accurately measure the position of the sinking occurring at dawn on Tuesday, about 11 miles (20 km) from the coast.
Over the next few hours, this Navy scientific research vessel will attempt to find the missing fisherman and locate the fishing vessel using a high-precision side-scan sonar equipment that will visualize the seabed around the vessel’s last known position and of the alert position received via satellite through the emergency radio beacon.
This operation is very complex, meticulous and time consuming and involves risk because it will operate equipment coupled to the ship that will be towed to different depths, from the bottom to the surface. During the night the ship will not stop the search and will use another system, the multibeam sounder, in an attempt to detect the vessel using all the capacities installed on board.
If it is possible to detect the vessel on the seabed, a remotely operated underwater vehicle, commonly known as Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), will also be used, which is also aboard the Gago Coutinho. The ROV, remotely controlled, will allow the observation and collection of images of the sunken ship, which will serve as information elements to join the maritime incident investigation that takes place under the Captain of the Port of Figueira da Foz, in an attempt to ascertain what was at the origin of this seemingly sudden sinking.
The use of ROV will allow operation at greater depths and for a longer period than would be achieved with divers, which naturally represent a risk to human life.
Onboard the hydrographic vessel is a team of 10 Navy divers with the capacity to perform deep diving operations, up to a maximum of 81 meters, which will have as priority to recover the fisherman who is still missing.