A Taiwanese ocean-going fishing vessel that lost contact six days ago was spotted from the air north of Midway Island January 2, but there was no sign of crew aboard the ship.
The owner of the Tuna longliner, Yong Yu Sing No.18, reported the ship missing after failing to make contact with the captain on December 30.
On January 1, the owner requested help via the Port of Su’ao Fishery Radio, and notified the Fisheries Bureau, Coast Guard, and the National Rescue Command Center (NRCC). The NRCC in turn requested a US fixed-wing aircraft to assist with the search.
On January 2, the Yong Yu Sing No.18 was spotted from the US aircraft 606 nautical miles northeast of Midway Island. Photographs showed the ship damaged, and suspected to have been hit by large waves. The lifeboat was missing, and after repeated flyovers, there was still no sign of the crew of 10 onboard.
The vessel was manned by a Taiwanese captain, and nine foreign crew, and operates out of the Port of Su’ao, in Yilan County.
At 10:00 am this morning, the Yong Yu Sing No.18’s sister ship, Jin Qin Fu No.66 was located 80 nautical miles north-northwest of the damaged vessel, but unable to proceed to the ship due to rough seas with swells up to 8 meters.
The aerial search will continue with a focus on finding the lifeboat.
A Su’ao District Fishery Association spokesperson said that the lifeboat is usually only used if the ship is on fire, sinking, or disintegrating. The lifeboat may have been destroyed by waves, and there is a possibility that the crew is sheltering inside the vessel.
Sources consulted: Liberty Times, United Daily News, China Times.
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