Marshallese fishermen found after 42-day ocean drift          

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MAJURO — Two of three Marshall Islands fishermen lost at sea since April 2 washed into a tiny atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia Thursday, weak but alive after a 42-day drift on the open ocean.

The small outboard engine boat washed up at Namoluk, the smallest atoll in Micronesia, Thursday morning. Details about their health and their 1,600 km (1,020 mile) drift were not immediately available from the isolated atoll.

 “They were skinny and weak as you would expect after 40 days at sea,” said Marshall Islands Health Secretary Jack Niedenthal after he was advised by an FSM government public health official that the two men had been found. He said he had not received any further details on their health condition.

Three men left Ebeye Island on a fishing trip April 2, developed engine trouble and drifted out of Kwajalein’s lagoon during a period of high winds and rough seas. A search by the US Army, Coast Guard and Marshall Islands Sea Patrol came up empty.

The two who survived the 1,600 km drift are Godfrey Capelle and Thomas Benjamin, according to a preliminary report received from Chuuk. The third man who went with the Capelle and Benjamin was Junior Joram, 32, reported the Marshall Islands Journal when the men were initially lost at sea in early April. They were in a 20-foot outboard engine boat with a single 40hp engine.

No details were available about what happened to Joram except that he was not with Capelle and Benjamin when Namoluk islanders found them Thursday morning.

A request from the island reportedly went to the FSM national sea patrol vessel to pick up the men and bring them to Weno, the capital of Chuuk, for medical attention and onward repatriation to the Marshall Islands.

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