Decomposed body in boat washed up on remote Pacific island

Majuro (Marshall Islands) (AFP) –


A decomposed body, believed to be Mexican or Colombian, has been found in a washed up boat on a remote Pacific island, officials said Wednesday, raising the possibility it had drifted 9,400 kilometres (5,800 miles) from Latin America.

The remains were in a six-metre (20 feet), blue fibreglass vessel with a 150 horsepower engine that was found on Likiep Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Authorities believe there may have been three people on board -- one from Mexico and two from Colombia -- based on identity cards found.

"The body was really decomposed, so we couldn't identify it with the ID cards we found on the boat," Likiep Atoll Mayor Veronica Wase said.

The IDs were for a Mexican and two Colombians -- one of whom was a fisherman for "ornamental fish" according to another document found on the boat.

Two fishermen from Likiep found the boat last Friday and alerted local officials with Wase calling in government, law enforcement and health officials from the capital Majuro.

The body was left on the atoll, 386 kilometres north of Majuro, until it was cremated earlier this week to avoid any health problems for local residents, authorities said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff said they were communicating with the Mexican embassy in the Philippines about the find.

Three years ago an El Salvadoran, Jose Alvarenga, survived 14 months adrift from Mexico, floating into Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands on a similar size fibreglass boat.

Another fisherman with Alvarenga died during the voyage.

In 2006, three Mexicans were rescued near the Marshalls after drifting for more than nine months.