The coast guard of Taiwan, in collaboration with the National Airborne Service Corps, is conducting an end-to-end sea and air search for a Vietnamese citizen who reportedly went missing after four members of a crew that was onboard a 31,236-ton cargo ship fell into the sea off the Yunlin County coast on 17 October.
The Central Taiwan Maritime Affair Center of the Maritime and Port Bureau said it got a notification from the National Coast Guard Administration close to 6:00 pm on Monday. It said four crew members from the bulk carrier, VIMC SUNRISE, had reportedly fallen into the sea waters while attempting to anchor at around 5:30 pm toward the west of Mailiao Township.
Other members of the crew of 22 threw some lifebuoys into the sea, and three crew members were reportedly pulled back onto the cargo vessel. Two crew members reportedly broke their legs, and one suffered a badly damaged arm. However, the ship’s chief mate, the fourth individual, continued to be missing.
The coast guard decided to dispatch two patrol vessels, and the National Airborne Service Corps also sent out a helicopter. The helicopter was compelled to turn back owing to extremely high winds with gusts measuring up to 11 on the Beaufort scale. Several five-meter swells hampered the search mission as well.
The freighter’s captain decided to continue south to get medical aid for injured crew members, and the ship reached the Port of Kaohsiung at about 5:00 am on 18 October.
The air search was reportedly resumed in the morning; however, the crew member continued to go missing. Poor sea and weather conditions in the Taiwan Strait are right now under the influence of the solid northeasterly monsoon winds coupled with the Tropical Storm dubbed Nesat in the South China Sea.
References: Taiwan English News, News2Sea, Fleetmon