Fri, Feb 22, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Taiwanese crew safe as rescue operations go on

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Four members of the Special Forces yesterday stand by coast guard patrol vessel Hsun Hu No. 8 in the Port of Kaohsiung before setting off for waters off Mauritius.

Photo: CNA

Thirteen people, including three Taiwanese, involved in a bloody conflict aboard a fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean had been rescued as of yesterday evening, while rescue operations continued for the remaining crew, the Fisheries Agency said.

A conflict broke out aboard the Wen Peng at 1:44am on Wednesday about 1,582 nautical miles (2,930km) from the coast of Mauritius, the agency said.

A total of 24 people were aboard the vessel, including three Taiwanese, 10 Filipinos and 11 Indonesians, it said.

The Taiwanese on board were captain Chen Chen-mao (陳振茂), chief engineer Kao Hsin-kuang (高信光) and observer Yang Wen-pin (楊文斌), it added.

A Philippine crew member allegedly stabbed and killed two crew members — one Filipino and one Indonesian — and ordered some of their crewmates to jump into the water, it said.

As of 8:30pm yesterday, the three Taiwanese as well as 10 other crew members had been rescued by sailors on two other Taiwanese vessels, Hung Fu No. 88 and Shang Feng No. 3, it added.

The three Taiwanese on Wednesday evening lost contact with the agency once constrained in a cabin, but found an opportunity to jump into the sea and were rescued yesterday afternoon, agency Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-ping (林國平) said.

The nationalities of other rescued members was unclear, Lin added.

The Philippine suspect and two injured foreign crew members are still aboard Wen Peng, while six other crew members are missing, he said, adding that the government would continue its rescue work.

At 1pm yesterday, a 1,000-tonne patrol vessel named Hsun Hu No. 8 departed the Port of Kaohsiung for the site with 37 coast guard members and weapons, the Coast Guard Administration said.

While it would take about 13 days for the patrol to arrive, the coast guard said it would send officials to fly to the Maldives and take a speedboat to the area today.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also asked neighboring countries, including Australia and the British Indian Ocean Territory, to assist in the rescue mission, the agency said.

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