Blount Island: CG suspends search for missing man

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search Monday for a man who went missing after falling overboard near Blount Island, Sunday. 

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville received notification at approximately 3 a.m., Sunday from the Tugboat Pop, stating that a 42-year-old man fell into the water while transiting from a tug to the clamshell dredge barge New York.

“The loss of a fellow professional mariner is especially difficult and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and co-workers,” said Capt. Mark Vlaun, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville.

“We ask that all mariners keep a sharp lookout while transiting the waterways near Blount Island and to call our command center at 904-714-7555 with any reports of new information.”

The family of the victim has identified him as Oziel Martinez, a 20-year veteran of the maritime industry.

His cousin Ruben Martinez said that he was working the night shift when he disappeared.

“It has been more than 24 hours we haven’t had any sign of anything, so we don’t know what to expect at this point….we are praying for the best, that is all we can hope for,” Martinez said.

The Coast Guard said that they have searched extensively from the entrance of the river to Goat island.

Photo: Coast Guard