The crew of a Honduran-registered freighter was rescued by Taiwan coast guard in the early ours of the morning after the ship capsized off the coast of south-west Taiwan.
The coast guard office received a report from the National Rescue Command Center that the 2,673 tonne freighter Ming An had capsized 36 nautical miles from the port of Kaohsiung at 1:38am. The crew of 14 Indonesian nationals had abandoned the vessel in rough seas.
The Coast Guard dispatched ships and crews from Penghu, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, while the search and rescue center dispatched an air-force helicopter and air crew.
At 4:51am the life raft was located by the crew of the Tainan-based coast guard vessel, and 13 crew were rescued by 5:12am. One man was missing. The crew had deployed the life raft and jumped into the water before clambering aboard in rough seas. The crew’s cook, however, did not make it into the raft and had become separated.
The freighter had left the Port of Kaohsiung in the afternoon of October 17 and was bound for Vietnam when it experienced a pump failure in the forward hold due to rough seas. The front of the ship began sinking.
The ship’s captain described the terrifying circumstances of abandoning ship, after donning life rafts and deploying two life rafts, the crew jumped into the ocean and clambered aboard one of the rafts in 4-5 meter seas, while the other raft was swept away by waves. The 47 year-old ship’s chef failed to climb aboard the raft and disappeared from view.
Coast Guard officers said that the winds at the time of rescue were 7 to 8 on the Beaufort scale with gusts up to 10.
Shortly after 10:00am, the crew received the news that the ship’s cook had been found and rescued. The crew broke out into cheers. A fishing vessel had rescued the missing cook off the coast of Tainan at 9:50am.