Thu, May 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Missing Pingtung boat in murderous mutiny shocker

CNA , TAIPEI

The lone crew member left aboard a Pingtung-based fishing boat that reportedly suffered a mutiny near the Solomon Islands early this month finally made contact with the vessel's owner on Tuesday and asked for help, sources from the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said yesterday.

Chen Tien-po (陳天寶), chief engineer of the Shun Cheng Yu, made contact with the boat's owner in Tungkang (東港), Pingtung County, on Tuesday evening, saying that the vessel had been hijacked by 14 Indonesian crew members who murdered the skipper and threw his body overboard on May 3, CGA officers said.

Chen said he was tied down in the cabin as the Indonesian crew mutinied.

On Tuesday, he said, when the vessel was sailing in Indonesian waters near Java, it encountered a passing Indonesian fishing boat and all the Indonesians working aboard the Shun Cheng Yu abandoned the vessel and fled.

After the Indonesian crew members fled, Chen said, he freed himself and contacted his boss in Tungkang, telling him that he was the only person left on board and that fuel was running low, according to the CGA authorities, who also talked to Chen via satellite phone on Tuesday.

CGA authorities said they dispatched a patrol boat to the west Pacific Ocean last week after being informed that the Shun Cheng Yu might have been hijacked by its crew. The patrol boat reached the area where the Tungkang-based fishing boat was thought to have been on May 20, but it did not spot the vessel.

CGA officers said the case is being handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will negotiate with Indonesian authorities over the matter.

Meanwhile, the CGA has contacted Interpol for assistance in apprehending the 14 Indonesians.

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