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Taiwanese fishing vessel missing in Indian Ocean
Central News Agency
2014-03-27 10:06 PM
Taipei, March 27 (CNA) A Taiwanese fishing boat has gone missing while operating in the Indian Ocean, according to a fishermen's association in southern Taiwan, which has asked the government to help find the vessel. The boat "Fu Fa No. 12" sailed from the southern county of Pingtung in March 2010 to fish in waters near Mauritius in the southern Indian Ocean and has since remained there to catch tuna and marlin, the Liuqiu fishermen's association in Pingtung said Thursday. The vessel's Taiwanese skipper has stayed in regular contact with his wife and the boat's owner over the years. But in the early hours of March 24, the owner of the vessel and the wife of the Taiwanese skipper missed calls from the "Fu Fa No. 12." When they called back, they could not reach anyone onboard. The vessel was tracked to be 415 nautical miles southeast of Mauritius on the afternoon of March 24, said Chen Ming, owner of the boat. He had made several calls to the boat but no connection could be made. That was the last information on the location of the boat, said Chen. He suspected the boat might have faced strong winds and big waves, or could have been stricken by thunder. On board the "Fu Fa No. 12" were Taiwanese skipper Chen Hsin-fu, 46, and 14 Indonesian crew members, who have worked for the fishing company for more than 10 years, the fishermen's association said. Upon learning of the incident, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted Mauritius' maritime patrol unit to seek their help in searching for the Taiwanese boat, said ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao. A hijacking of the fishing boat seemed unlikely, the fishermen's association said, adding that the boat was not operating in an area where piracy was rampant. (By Kuo Chih-hsuan, Tang Pei-chun and Elaine Hou)
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