A Taiwanese fishing boat, Lai Ching, suffered a gas explosion at about noon on Friday while fishing in the southwest Atlantic, resulting in three dead, four missing and 18 injured, according to a Central News Agency (CNA) report.
The Fisheries Agency is still soliciting assistance from nearby nations, as well as attempting to launch a search for the four missing crewmembers through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Search and Rescue Center.
According to the report, the Lai Ching was fishing for squid when there was a gas explosion at 11:40am on Friday, 1,600 nautical miles (2,963km) east of Paraguay.
The Fisheries Agency immediately launched rescue operations after receiving notification of the explosion, contacting another fishing boat, the Hsiang Man -Ching, the nearest vessel in the vicinity and instructing it to rescue crewmembers who abandoned ship or were in life-boats.
The Hsiang Man Ching is heading for Cape Town and is expected to arrive on Saturday, the Fisheries Agency said, adding that it was also contacting nearby nations and seeking ships or aircraft with medical personnel to assist.
The National Search and Rescue Center has also been asked to have doctors remotely relay instructions to the ship’s crew on how to perform emergency first aid, the Fisheries Agency said.
Of the two Taiwanese nationals on board the Lai Ching, one had been rescued, but chief engineer Chang Ching-chiao (張清教) died of his injuries, the report said.
Among the crewmembers of other nationalities, there were 12 Indonesians, seven of whom were injured and one missing; 12 Vietnamese, of whom six were injured, two missing and one dead; eight Filipinos, of whom five were injured, one missing and one dead. There were also three crewmembers from China who were all unharmed.