Taiwanese fishing boat rescues crewmen from distressed freighter

01/16/2021 10:24 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Administration
Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Administration

Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) A Taiwanese fishing trawler has rescued 22 crewmen consisting mainly of Chinese nationals from a Panamanian freighter that had caught fire in the Philippine Sea, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Saturday.

The Panama-registered Yong Feng issued a distress call Wednesday after its engine room caught fire some 485 nautical miles southeast of Eluanbi, Taiwan's southernmost tip, the CGA said in a statement.

The location was east of the Philippines and normally covered by the Philippines' emergency services, but the authorities there called on Taiwan for assistance, the Coast Guard said.

The Taiwanese fishing trawler Min Fa Yu (閩發漁) was just a two-hour journey away from the Yong Feng, and it was asked by Taiwan's National Rescue Command Center to head toward the distressed vessel and rescue its 22 crew members -- 14 Chinese and eight Bangladeshi nationals -- the CGA said.

Given that the Yong Feng was Chinese-owned, the Coast Guard said Taiwan began the following day to coordinate with authorities in China to have the crew transferred to a Chinese vessel.

The rescued crewmen on the Min Fa Yu, which had been under the escort of a Taiwanese Coast Guard vessel, successfully met up with the Xiamen-based Chinese No. 113 Donghai rescue ship in waters southwest of Taiwan on Saturday morning, the CGA said.

The Taiwanese trawler was subsequently escorted back to Taiwan, where its crew members are now being subjected to mandatory quarantine in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the online Shipfix Directory, the Yong Feng is a 13,880-ton bulk carrier.

(By Huang Li-yun and Ko Lin)

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