Fisherman’s body found in lagoon

Marshall Islands Police Department CID detectives Captain Vincent Tani (back to camera) and Lt. Carney Terry check and photograph the body of an I-Kiribati fisherman found in the water next to Delap Dock Tuesday morning.

GIFF JOHNSON

The body of an I-Kiribati fisherman was hauled out of Majuro lagoon Tuesday morning after it was discovered during the offloading of containers from a vessel at Delap Dock.
The body of Rubeiariki Beriki, 29, was discovered by Majuro Stevedore and Terminal employees who were offloading containers from a MELL container ship. The body was in the narrow space between dock and vessel.

Beriki was a fisherman on one of the Marshall Islands Fishing Venture longline vessels. MIFV’s dock is adjacent to Delap Dock. Beriki is the second fisherman from an MIFV vessel to die from drowning in recent months, according to Majuro hospital. A third I-Kiribati MIFV fishermen died recently from sepsis shortly after coming to the emergency room.

MIPD Criminal Investigation Division Captain Vincent Tani told the Journal Wednesday there were no visible injuries on the man’s body and the death was being ruled a drowning.

Beriki apparently went missing over the weekend as he could not be found Monday, according to Tani. MIFV officials informed police that they began looking for him Monday.

A Covid test was administered to Beriki’s body, which showed a negative result, the hospital reported. The body was in the morgue, pending probable cremation and later disposition, since the Kiribati border is currently closed due to a widespread outbreak of Covid in the country.

The Journal was informed by a person knowledgable in activities around the docks and fishing community that there was a drunken brawl involving I-Kiribati fishing crew Saturday night. Whether that led to Beriki ending up in the water is simply speculation.
The police said they had not received any reports about an altercation among the crew members last weekend.

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