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Taiwan Coast Guard helping with searches for missing Chinese fishermen

03/15/2024 04:30 PM
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Rescue personnel search for the fisherman who fell into water near Matsu Friday. Photo courtesy of the Matsu Offshore Flotilla March 15, 2024
Rescue personnel search for the fisherman who fell into water near Matsu Friday. Photo courtesy of the Matsu Offshore Flotilla March 15, 2024

Taipei, March 15 (CNA) Taiwan's Coast Guard has teamed up with China to search for Chinese crew members who have gone missing from vessels in Matsu County and Kinmen County.

In the Matsu County case, the Coast Guard deployed vessels early Friday to assist in a search and rescue mission involving a Chinese fisherman who fell overboard while apparently walking on the edge of the vessel.

The Matsu Coast Guard was first made aware of the incident at 12:30 a.m. Friday by the Economic Development Department of Lienchiang County, the county just off China's eastern coast that covers the Taiwan-controlled Matsu Islands.

According to an unnamed source, a 26-year-old fisherman working on the "Min Lian Yu 60911," a Chinese fishing vessel, is believed to have fallen overboard while walking around the perimeter of the boat's deck Thursday afternoon.

The fisherman lost his footing roughly 5 kilometers east of Lienchiang County's Sanlian Islets around Beigan Island.

Members of the boat initially attempted to locate the man on their own, to no avail, before reporting the incident to Chinese authorities.

China then made Taiwan aware of the case, and two to three coast guard vessels were sent to the area to assist in search and rescue operations, Matsu Coast Guard captain Hung Wen-chuan (洪文泉) told CNA.

Hung said the Coast Guard is expected to work with Chinese authorities on the mission for 72 hours.

In Kinmen, the Kinmen Coast Guard deployed ships to help China search for the six crew members of the "Min Long Yu 61222" Chinese fishing boat, which capsized and sank about 2 kilometers southwest of Dongding Island in Taiwan-controlled Kinmen County on Thursday.

Dongding Island is considered the southernmost point of Kinmen County, lying about 26 km south of the main Kinmen Island.

Taiwan's Coast Guard said the boat had ventured about 500 meters into Taiwan's "prohibited waters," in which Coast Guard vessels are authorized to control the activity of foreign vessels.

Since joint-rescue efforts were initiated Thursday after the ship capsized, four crew members have been pulled from the water, with two of them already dead when found.

Search efforts are still underway for the remaining two crew members, according to the Coast Guard.

(By Kao Hua-chien and James Lo)

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