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Rescuers Continue To Search For Missing Fishing Crew

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rescuers Continue To Search For Missing Fishing Crew

The search for survivors from a Korean fishing vessel that sank in the Southern Ocean will continue through the night.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) says three Korean fishing vessels are continuing to look for the 17 men still missing after the Korean-owned and operated No. 1 In Sung sank early this morning.

The No. 1 In Sung is reported to have sunk at 6.30am about 1,000 nautical miles (1,850 kilometres) north of McMurdo base - or 2,700 kilometres southeast of Bluff - inside New Zealand's search and rescue region. The vessel is a 58 metre long-liner with crew from Korea, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Russia.

RCCNZ was advised of the sinking at about 1pm today by the Ministry of Fisheries, which was alerted by the vessel owner's New Zealand agent.

Twenty survivors and five deceased recovered from the water are on board the fishing vessel No. 707 Hongjin. The survivors are reported to be in a comfortable condition and none requires medical treatment.

The search was scaled back this afternoon and two New Zealand vessels were released from the search. RCCNZ says it will reevaluate the situation and make a decision about continuing the search in the morning. However, it says as time passes the chances of any of the remaining crew surviving are increasingly slim.

It is not known at this stage what caused the vessel to sink or why no distress communication was received prior to it sinking. Information received from the rescue vessel and the fishing company states that the ship sank very quickly, and those who were able to abandon ship did so directly into the water, not wearing lifejackets or immersion suits.

Weather conditions in the area are light westerly winds of 10 knots, with a one metre swell. The sea temperature is 2 degrees Celsius and survival times in the water are about 10 minutes without lifejackets or immersion suits.

There will be no further updates about the search effort until 9am tomorrow morning.

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