Search for 13 Missing Pinoy Seamen On-Going

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs said the search for the missing Taiwanese fishing vessel the Hsiang Fu Chun and its crew, which includes 13 Filipinos, is ongoing.

However, the search has been hampered by poor weather conditions and the great distance between the vessel’s last known location and the closest land base.

DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said that the Philippine embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina reported last March 3 the Taiwanese fishing vessel the Hsiang Fu Chun has been missing off the Argentinian coast since February 26.

The vessel’s last position was 1,460 miles from the nearest Argentine port of Puerto Disiado in Sta. Cruz province.

The DFA said the embassy in Argentina continues to coordinate with the relevant parties and will send updates once they become available.

On Sunday, Agence France-Presse quoted authorities as saying the Taiwanese ship had vanished in the remote South Atlantic Ocean without any sign of a mayday call but shortly after its skipper reported it was taking on water.

The Hsiang Fu Chun, a 700-ton squid fishing vessel, lost contact with its owners “soon” after reporting that water was leaking on to the deck at around 3 a.m. on February 26, officials said.

The vessel was sailing about 1,700 nautical miles (3,148 kilometers) off the Falkland Islands when it vanished, according to recorded satellite data.

Its crew include a Taiwanese skipper and chief engineer, as well as 11 Chinese, 21 Indonesian, 13 Filipino and two Vietnamese sailors.

Taiwan has launched a search effort, and is appealing for assistance from Argentina and Britain as well as other ships in the area. – With report from Agence France-Presse

(Source: Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News)

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