A long-line fishing trawler that has been out of contact since Tuesday has been captured by Somali pirates, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.
Speaking via telephone with the Taipei Times, Samuel Chen (陳士良), director-general of the ministry's Department of African Affairs, said that based on information it received from another Taiwanese fishing vessel, the 79-tonne Jih-chun Tsai No. 68 (日春財68號) appeared to be on its way to the pirates' base on the Somali coast after being seized.
“There has been no communication since the vessel [Jih-chun Tsai No. 68] was captured. We haven't been able to contact the captain and probably won't be able to until they arrive at the pirates' base, which is expected [today],” Chen said.
He said that there were 14 crew members on board, including Taiwanese captain Wu Lai-yu (吳來于), two Chinese and 11 Indonesians.
News of the capture only came to light after the Ruei Man Fa (瑞滿發), another Taiwanese fishing vessel, informed a local radio station that it had been attacked by what appeared to be a Taiwanese trawler, now believed to be the Jih-chun Tsai No. 68.
A press release issued by the ministry on Thursday night said the Ruei Man Fa was attacked about 730km southeast of Somalia's Cape Guardafui.
Chen yesterday visited Wu's wife in Pingtung's Siaoliouciou (小琉球) to let her know that the government was working for the quick and safe return of her husband.
He also visited the families of Hsu Ching-tsuan (許清鑽) and Huang Ken-jui (黃崑瑞), the two Taiwanese on board the Ruei Man Fa, in Donggang Township (東港), Pingtung County.
The Ruei Man Fa is heading to the Maldives to seek medical assistance for an Indonesian crew member who was shot during a three-hour chase, Chen said, adding that all other crew members were unharmed.
He said the government was seeking help from the Piracy Reporting Center at the International Maritime Organization's International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, the UK Maritime Trade Organization and the US Fifth Fleet under Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain to rescue the hijacked vessel.
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We