49 on Taiwan Fishing Boat Missing in South Atlantic

A 49-strong crew on a Taiwan-registered fishing boat has been unaccounted for since losing contact on February 26 in the south Atlantic, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

The missing included two from Taiwan, 11 from China, 21 from Indonesia, 13 from the Philippines and two from Vietnam, the fishery authority was quoted as saying.

The boat sailed off from Kaohsiung in January to the sea area 1,700 sea miles east of the Falkland Islands for fishing and was due to return in May.

The boat lost all contact with the shipowner at 3 a.m. on February 26 and has not been seen since despite search efforts.

In the last communication, the captain reportedly told the ship owner that the boat was taking in water in areas of the South Atlantic, media reports quoted fishery agency deputy head Huang Hung-yan as saying.

The agency believed the boat could still be drifting in the region, probably without power, since no signals of wreckage or notice of hijack have been sent by the boat.

Huang did not rule out the possibility that the boat will reach the land.

At least three Taiwan vessels close to the area where Hsiang Fu Chun went missing have joined the search.

Huang said it was difficult to send either an airplane or a boat to the rescue, as the vessel went missing far from land, in treacherous sea conditions.

(Source: TaiwanSun.com)

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