2 boats collide in the Gulf of Mexico, 3 missing

By the Associated Press | May 19, 2011 | 9:59 AM EDT

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — The Coast Guard is searching for three people Thursday after two boats collided in the Gulf of Mexico off the Mississippi coast.

Lt. Junior Grade Israel Parker said the Eurus London, a 660-foot commercial cargo boat, and the Sandy Point, a 163-foot fishing boat, collided about eight miles south of Gulfport between Cat Island and Ship Island around 8:50 p.m. Wednesday.

Parker said the Sandy Point sank after the collision with 16 people aboard. A pilot boat safely recovered 11 people from the water and transferred them to another fishing vessel, he said. Two additional crewmembers of the Sandy Point made it on their own to the Eurus London.

Coast Guard rescue vessels and helicopters from New Orleans, Gulfport and Mobile, Ala., were participating in the search.

The Sandy Point was owned by Omega Protein Inc. and its home port was Most Point, Miss. Omega Protein operates a processing facility in Moss Point and its ships fish for menhaden, also called pogy, in the Gulf.