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COAST GUARD ENDS SEARCH FOR CRAB BOAT

Somewhere off the Southern Oregon Coast or at the bottom of the sea are the charred remains of Paul Davis fishing boat Charabi.

The U.S. Coast Guard was unable to find the boat by Friday, three days after it caught fire one mile from the Port of Brookings Harbor. There will be no more searching, officials said.

It most likely sank, said Coast Guardman Kelly Hoyle of the Chetco River Station.

The skipper of the Charabi, Paul Davis, issued a mayday Tuesday night, reporting that his engine room was on fire.

Davis and his two crew members, Leon Jones and Ralph Dairy, escaped the boat in an inflatable raft. They were picked up by a Coast Guard life boat about 10 minutes later.

The crew of the Coast Guard life boat tried to extinguished the boat without success. Two commercial fishing boats, the Miss Phyllis and the Kea Lynn, assisted the Coast Guard by illuminating the area with bright lights, Hoyle.

They stayed with the boat all night long. They helped us a lot, he said.

The Coast Guard left the boat adrift sometime on Wednesday, Hoyle said. It was still burning, he said.

A helicopter from the Coast Guards North Bend Station scouted the ocean from Coos Bay to Brookings-Harbor, but was unable to find the boat. No commercial fishing vessels have spotted it either, Hoyle said.

Had the Charabi been spotted, its location would have been broadcasted to other mariners to avoid a collision.

The vessel would not have been towed to shore because of the potential environmental hazards such as leaking fuel or other substances.

Its better environmentally if the boat stays out there or sinks, than bring it back to shore, he said.

The skipper agreed. I hope it sank somewhere deep and not close to the beach, Davis said.

The Charabi was insured for $85,000, but Davis estimated its worth at $140,000. It was built 27 years ago, he said.

The vessel was on its way back to port with approximately 1,000 pounds of crab, he said.

Several fishermen have volunteered to help Davis collect some 800 crab pots still floating off the coast. Everyone has been so great to me, he said.

He was particularly thankful for the effort of the Coast Guard.

What these guys do for us is incredible.

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