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Three Filipinos Missing as Taiwanese Vessel Disappears in South Atlantic

Three Filipinos are among the 49 crew members of the Taiwanese ship “Hsiang Fu Chun” that has gone missing in the South Atlantic, Agence France-Presse reported on Sunday.

According to the report, the missing also included a Taiwanese skipper and chief engineer, 11 Chinese, 21 Indonesian, and two Vietnamese sailors.

AFP reported that the 700-ton squid fishing vessel sailed off from Kaohsiung in January to the sea area 1,700 sea miles east of the Falkland Islands and was due to return in May.

The ship owner said the vessel lost contact at 3 a.m. on February 26 without any sign of a mayday call and has not been seen since despite search efforts.

Huang Hong-yen, spokesman for the Fisheries Agency told AFP that in the ship’s last communication, the captain reportedly told the ship owner that the boat was taking in water in areas of the South Atlantic.

The agency said the ship could still be drifting in the region, probably without power, since no evidence of wreckage, mayday signal, nor notice of hijack has been sent by the vessel.

At least three Taiwan vessels close to the area where Hsiang Fu Chun went missing have joined the search but Taiwan is appealing for assistance from Argentina and Britain as well as other ships in the area.

No word yet on the identities of the missing vessel’s 49-strong crew.