Missing deckhand turns up in detention centre

Fishermen thought lost at sea is discovered in a Ladysmith jail cell during search.

A late-night Nanaimo taxi ride led to double-trouble for a 25-year-old fisherman in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The man’s attempt at using cigarettes as currency while bartering with a Nanaimo taxi driver led to both his arrest and the scrambling of Nanaimo and Ladysmith area marine search and rescue crews.

The man was arrested at 2 a.m., Nanaimo RCMP Constable Gary O’Brien said, and transported to a jail cell in Ladysmith.

Meanwhile, his fishing boat crew set sail without him, calling in local marine search and rescue crews when they realized he was missing and presumed that he’d fallen overboard.

Search and rescue personnel contacted the Nanaimo RCMP at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to request their help with the search, O’Brien said, and it was at this point that the fate of the missing man came to light.

“In the course of our investigation, we checked our [jail] cells,” O’Brien added, “and sure enough, there he was.”

The man was released Tuesday morning on a promise to appear, O’Brien said, and is scheduled to appear in B.C. Provincial Court in May on charges of assault.

Regarding the search effort that resulted from the man failing to show up for work, O’Brien suggested there “may be a lesson to be learned. If you think you’re missing a deck hand, you might want to do a head count before you head out to sea.”