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Maritime News

Fishing vessel and crew disappear without a trace

The Suao-based boat Hsiehyi No. 6 is seen in an undated photo. The boat had eight crew members on board when it left Nanfangao fishing port in northeastern Taiwan on Sept. 2, and it last contacted the ship’s owner, Juan Chihyi, on Sept. 7.

Taiwanese longline fishing vessel with eight crew members on board  has been missing without making any contact since Sept. 8, the Suao Fishermen’s Association in Yilan County said.   The Suao-based  Hsiehyi No. 6 left the Nanfangao fishing port in northeastern Taiwan on Sept. 2 and last contacted the ship’s owner, Juan Chih-yi (阮志益), on Sept. 7, the association said.  “The 73.5-tonne boat has since not made contact,” association secretary-general Lin Yueh-ying (林月英) said.

The boat was about 355 nautical miles (657.5km) southeast of Okinawa, Japan, when it last radioed its home base, Lin said.  Aboard the ship were captain Huang Yung-wen (黃永文) and chief engineer Chen Chi-cheng (陳吉成), both Taiwanese citizens, as well as six Indonesian fishery workers, Lin said. According to Lin, the ship’s owner tended to contact the fishing boat once every five to seven days. Over the past 10-plus days, Juan had tried many times to get in touch with the vessel but failed, Lin said, adding that the ship’s automatic identification system was also not working.

After receiving Juan’s report on Sept. 14, the association asked Japan to help with a search. “However, neither Japanese ships nor aircraft have been able to embark on a search mission because the region is being rattled by a strong typhoon,” Lin said. Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration had already sent a patrol vessel to search for the fishing boat, but had not yet located it, Lin said.  The association also asked four other Taiwanese fishing boats operating in the region to take part in the search mission, Lin said, adding that the National Search and Rescue Center had again asked Japan to assist in search. To her knowledge, Lin said, the six Indonesian fishery workers had all been working in Taiwan for more than six months and none of them had returned to their home country after the Hsiehyi went missing. “Therefore, the possibility that the ship was abducted by the Indonesian workers [and taken to Indonesia] is very low,” Lin said.

 

Date: September 25, 2011                                                               Source: Taipei Times

 

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