US Coast Guard presumes S’porean who fell off ship deck is dead after 3-month search

SINGAPORE: After three months of searching for a Singaporean man who fell off a cargo ship in USA waters, the U.S. Coast Guard has formally presumed the 25-year-old dead.

The missing man, Muhammad Furqan Mohamed Rashid, held a Diploma in Nautical Sciences from the Singapore Polytechnic. During his military service, he was a naval firefighter with the Singapore Civil Defense Force. He then joined his current company, Apex Ship Management, as a deck officer and was a deck officer II before the incident.

The young man was attending a junior deck officer course in the United States and was working on board a cargo ship when the incident occurred. He was reportedly on deck getting ready to exercise when he fell off the ship and into the ocean as the merchant’s vessel travelled about 22 kilometres from the Californian coast.

His family was told that the warden of the merchant ship immediately called for help and lowered the life buoy in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue him. The ship then turned around to look for him and notified the U.S. Coast Guard. The authority quickly deployed its team to conduct a 15-hour search and rescue operation involving sea and air routes. The team dispatched helicopters; the search and rescue range exceeded 200 nautical miles.

Unfortunately, the team only found life buoys and suspended the search after the arduous 15 hours it had spent covering 370 kilometres to find the young Singaporean.

The man’s sister, Nur Afifah Mohamed Rashid, revealed on Facebook on Friday (29 Sept) that the U.S. Coast Guard concluded that her brother was dead as they had not found him three months since the tragic incident.

She also said the family hopes to receive a formal report from the U.S. Coast Guard as soon as possible to get long-awaited answers and better understand what may have happened.

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