The search for a Myanmar national believed to have fallen overboard in Cape Preston, near Karratha, has been suspended this afternoon after authorities failed to find any trace of the man four days after he went missing.
The 28-year-old, who was a crew member on an iron ore bulk carrier moored in the port, was reported missing in the early hours of Tuesday morning, sparking a marine and air search that covered an area of more than 17sqkm near the vessel.
Dampier police officer-in-charge Sergeant Paul World said search operations would now cease and the incident would be treated as a missing persons case.
“Once we’ve conducted a search, we are driven to get a result for the family so they have closure,” he said.
“We have been in touch with the man’s family in Burma through a liaison officer and our sympathy goes out to the family that we can’t provide the closure they need at this time.”
He said there had been no evidence of foul play.
The four-day search for the man involved 10 vessels, two helicopters, one fixed wing aircraft and a team of divers from the Water Police.
WA Police, Border Force, the Department of Transport, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Cape Preston Port staff and Dampier and Port Walcott volunteer marine rescue groups were all part of the effort.
Weather conditions were favourable throughout the search period.
Sgt World said it was disappointing searchers had been unable to find the man despite extensive efforts.
“I’m pleased with the search that was conducted and the coverage we had,” he said.
“There’s always the possibility you’re going to miss something, but in regards to the marine and air search, I’m very comfortable that the parties involved have covered a great area and covered it well.”
Search crews will be debriefed at a meeting next week.