Japan Coast Guard personnel found a partially sunken Taiwanese fishing ship near Miyako Island around noon yesterday and found no one on board, Coast Guard Administration (CGA) Secretariat Director Hsieh Ching-chin (謝慶欽) said last night.
According to information provided by the Japan Coast Guard, the fishing ship was partially destroyed and showed evidence of burning, he added.
Hsieh said the boat was supposed to have five people on board, including two Taiwanese and three Indonesian fishermen.
The Coast Guard Administration, after being informed of the discovery by the Japan Coast Guard at 12:06pm, ordered its 1,800 tonne Ho Hsing vessel, on a patrol mission in water east of Taiwan, to search for the missing fishermen, Hsieh said.
The Ho Hsing, with 40 coast guard staff on board, is expected to arrive at the location at 8am this morning, Hsieh said.
Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Tsay Tzu-yaw (蔡日耀) said that the fishing ship, Cheng Tsai Li, was a Kaohsiung-registered long-line fishing boat, and set sail for the northeast passage from the port of Suao (蘇澳) in the Yilan County on Dec. 14.
It was found at 25 degree 26.2 minute north latitude and 125 degree 47.46 minute east longitude, about 35 nautical miles (64.82km) off the northeastern tip of Miyako Islands, or 206 nautical miles (382km) off the east-northeast tip of Sandiaojiao (三貂角), New Taipei City (新北市), the easternmost point of Taiwan, Tsai said.
Japanese Coast Guard had dispatched a helicopter, a fixed-wing plane, and two patrol vessels to search for the fishermen yesterday, but there was no information of findings received as of last night, Tsai said.
The Fisheries Agency has informed Taiwanese fishing ships operating in waters around the area to help locate the fishermen, Hsieh said.