Search For Crew Of Chinese Fishing Vessel Suspended
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has suspended the search for the crew of the Chinese fishing vessel Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028. Despite significant multinational efforts, at this stage, of the 39 crew, 2 have been recovered, or deceased.
The crew consisted of 17 Chinese, 17 Indonesian and 5 Filipino Nationals.
The search centred on a 12,000 square km area about 5,000km northwest of Perth, in the Indian Ocean.
On 16 May a distress beacon signal was received by AMSA’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Canberra from the fishing vessel at about 5.30 am (AEST).
On the same day, a bulk carrier Navios Taurus sighted an upturned hull in the search area, along with some debris. No survivors were sighted.
Weather conditions on 16 May were extreme, with the passage of Cyclone Fabian, causing 120km/h winds and 7-metre seas. It is likely that the vessel capsized due to the cyclonic conditions.
During the 4-day search, multiple aircraft were involved, including 2 from the Australian Defence Force, AMSA’s rescue aircraft and two commercially chartered aircraft, with State Emergency Service observers from Perth on board.
Support was provided to AMSA by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Federal Police in the Cocos (Keeling) islands.
Merchant ships assisted with the search, including ships from Panama, Marshall Islands, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Liberia.
AMSA has been in continuous contact with the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Beijing to coordinate search activities and plans.
Australia has also been in close communication through Rescue Coordination Centres and diplomatic channels on the transition beyond the search phase of operations. Ongoing recovery efforts will be led by the People’s Republic of China.
We have also been liaising with search and rescue agencies in India, along with the Sri Lanka Navy. Authorities in the Maldives and Diego Garcia have provided expedited access to their airspace and airports, extending valuable search time for our aircraft.
Australia also worked closely with authorities in Diego Garcia, the Philippines, Indonesia, the United States and La Reunion throughout the search.
AMSA would like to thank all those who assisted with the multinational search – an example of partners in the Indo-Pacific region working together to keep our seas safer.
Our thoughts and sympathy are with the families of the affected crew, and we acknowledge the distress they will be feeling at this time.