Taiwan Coast Guard reaches, prepares to board fishing boat to investigate missing crew

The 1,000 ton class Taiwan Coast Guard cutter Patrol No.8 has reached the Taiwanese fishing vessel Yong Yu Sing No.18 west of Midway atoll, and officers are preparing to board the vessel to investigate the fate of the missing crew today, January 29.

The Yong Yu Sing No.18 was first reported missing December 30 after the owner lost contact with the crew. A subsequent air search by a US fixed-wing aircraft from Hawaii located the vessel 606 nautical miles northeast of Midway January 2, but there were no signs of the crew of 10.

The Taiwanese fishing boat Lian Horng No.67 reached the Yong Yu Sing N0.18 on January 11, but confirmed no signs of crew after attempting to make contact. Rough seas prevented boarding, but the crew of the Lian Horng was able to attach an AIS transceiver to the drifting boat.

On the following day, January 12, another Taiwanese fishing boat, Yi Rong No.18 reached the Yong Yu Sing, and attached a towing cable to the vessel. The crew of the Yi Rong planned to tow the Yong Yu Sing to calmer waters and board the boat, but the cable snapped during the night.

On January 19, the Yi Rong No.18 approached the drifting ship again, and the crew boarded the vessel. There were no signs of the Taiwanese captain and 9 Indonesian crew. The search revealed that the cabin of the vessel had been severely damaged. On the same day, the Coast Guard Cutter Patrol No.8 departed from the Port of Kaohsiung to make a 2,500 nautical mile journey to rendezvous with the boat, while the crew of the Yi Rong No.18 began towing the Yong Yu Sing towards Taiwan.

At 9:30 am this morning, the Patrol No.8 reached the two vessels at 179 degrees 24 minutes north latitude, 28 degrees 17 minutes east longitude, and Coast Guard officers plan to board the ship when sea conditions allow.

map showing position at rendezvous
Position of Yong Yu Sing No.18 at rendezvous with Coast Guard.
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