Search suspended for missing crewman

July 5, 2009 

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for a man missing from a commercial fishing ship in the Bering Sea.

Officials stopped looking for Nhial Opiew, 38, early this morning, the Coast Guard said.

Opiew was on the 140-foot trawler, the Rebecca Irene, based out of Seattle. The boat was fishing for Pacific Ocean perch. He did not show up for watch duty Saturday morning and was later determined to be missing from the ship, which was about 25 miles southeast of Umnak Island, near Unalaska Island.

The last time Opiew was seen, at 4 a.m. Saturday, he was wearing pajamas, the Coast Guard said.

The ship called for help at about 8:30 a.m.

Crew of the Rebecca Irene and two Good Samaritan vessels looked for Opiew for 14 hours, the Coast Guard said.

The total search covered 100 square miles. It was hampered by poor visibility throughout the day, said Lt. Nathaniel Johnson.

The Coast Guard did not immediately know Opiew's hometown.

Find Megan Holland online at or call 257-4343.

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