Fri, Sep 08, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Boat in deep sea mutiny case docks in Kaohsiung

CAPTAIN HOSPITALIZEDThe Indonesian crew of a fishing trawler whose Taiwanese boss survived being pushed overboard are being questioned

STAFF WRITER

An Indonesian fisherman suspected of pushing his Taiwanese captain overboard is brought ashore at Kaohsiung Harbor by coast guard officials yesterday after the fishing trawler returned to Taiwan.

PHOTO: HUANG CHIH-YUAN, TAIPEI TIMES

The Pingtung-based fishing trawler Hsien-ta No. 1 and its allegedly mutinous crew pulled into Kao-hsiung Harbor early yesterday morning, just hours after the coast guard airlifted its captain to a hospital in Pingtung.

The Indonesian crewmembers were taken by coast guard officials for interrogation about an incident in which their Taiwanese captain Chen Wen-chen (陳文鎮) was allegedly pushed overboard.

One of the Indonesians -- who Chen had reportedly berated for not working hard enough -- is suspected of grabbing a stick and pushing Chen off the boat at 4am on Sept 1.

Chen survived by grabbing one of the floats on the boat's fishing net. Accounts have varied as to how long he was in the water, with some saying 24 hours and others saying two days.

When the crew members hauled in the net, they discovered Chen was still alive.

The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) dispatched a vessel to escort the fishing boat home when it was informed of the incident on Sept. 4. The coast guard vessel met up with the Hsien-ta No.1 on Monday 440 nautical miles (815km) southeast of Oluanpi. The suspected attacker was placed under arrest and Chen was airlifted back to Taiwan.

The other crew members said they were asleep when Chen went overboard, but felt that something was amiss when the suspect disappeared from deck as soon as they recovered Chen.

Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉), a doctor at An-tai Hospital in Pingtung, told reporters that Chen has said that he lost consciousness when he was attacked and had come to when he was in the water.

Chen had tied his hands to the float because he was afraid he would lose consciousness again and lose his grip, the doctor said.

He said Chen had sustained himself with rainwater and had prayed while waiting to be rescued.

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