Coast Guard suspends search for missing man near Blount Island

Family says 42-year-old Oziel Martinez was a loving father and husband.

Jacksonville, Fl — It’s the development a local family didn’t want to hear, as the Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing worker in the St. Johns River.

Family says 42-year-old Oziel Martinez was a loving father and husband who has worked in the maritime industry for more than 20 years.

He disappeared early Sunday morning while moving from a vessel to a barge in Blount Island. He was not wearing a lifejacket and did not resurface.

“The loss of a fellow professional mariner is especially difficult and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and co-workers,” said Capt. Mark Vlaun, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville.

“We ask that all mariners keep a sharp lookout while transiting the waterways near Blount Island and to call our command center at 904-714-7555 with any reports of new information. Thank you to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO), Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for their rapid response and partnership throughout this challenging search.”

His cousin Ruben Martinez said Oziel was working the night shift when he disappeared.

“It has been more than 24 hours we haven’t had any sign of anything, so we don’t know what to expect at this point….we are praying for the best, that is all we can hope for.” Ruben Martinez told Action News Jax.

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