Divers to continue search today, salvage operation possible

GULFPORT - Divers plan to resume their search for three missing crew members of the pogy fishing boat Sandy Point this morning, a Coast Guard official said.Ensign Timothy Williams said the crew of divers from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and the Biloxi Police Department are expected to arrive at the Gulfport Coast Guard station at 7 a.m. to begin preparations to go back out to the site of the wreckage, which is about 10 miles out from West Ship Island.Coast Guard crews searched through the night, he said.Two ships and aircraft will continue the search again this morning.Recovery of the Sandy Point is planned."Salvage operations could commence as early as today. Omega Protein is coordinating those efforts," Williams said.The 163-foot Sandy Point collided with the 660-foot container ship Eurus London about 8:50 p.m. Wednesday. The cargo ship was carrying Chiquita bananas to Freeport, Texas.The channel is about 300 feet wide at the point of the collision near the west tip of West Ship Island. The pogy boat sank on the east side of the Gulfport shipping channel.Omega Protein, which has a processing plant in Moss Point, had a crew of 16 on the boat, which was carrying a load of menhaden fish, also called pogy.A pilot boat rescued 11 people from the water and transferred them to the fishing vessel Frosty Morn, said Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Israel Parker. Two additional crew members of the Sandy Point made it on their own to the Eurus London, Parker said.The container vessel was towed to the West Pier in Gulfport.SunHerald.com updates this story as information is available.